The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has released its annual compliance and enforcement report for 2022–23.
During the reporting period, the AER’s compliance and enforcement outcomes included over $1 million in penalties, publishing 21 bulletins and guidance notes and instituting three civil proceedings in the Federal Court.
Many outcomes focused on consumers experiencing vulnerability including an interim guidance note on new family violence protections, instituting proceedings against energy retailers for failing to comply with overcharging obligations, and the issuing of infringement notices for alleged breaches of consumer life support obligations.
The AER also remained focused on monitoring compliance to ensure a secure and reliable energy supply. Outcomes in this area included instituting proceedings against energy companies for alleged breaches of their obligations relating to providing contingency frequency control ancillary services and the release of the findings of the AER’s investigation into market events that led to the suspension of the National Electricity Market last year.
The AER's compliance and enforcement functions were also integral to ensuring that gas markets operated efficiently and competitively across the financial year. These included instituting proceedings in relation to alleged breaches surrounding Day Ahead Auction pipeline capacity and issuing 10 infringement notices for alleged gas demand forecasting breaches in short-term trading markets.
AER Chair Ms Clare Savage said that compliance and enforcement is a key regulatory tool to protect energy consumers and keep the energy system stable and secure during the transition.
“With Australians facing cost of living pressures it’s important that energy consumers receive the protections they’re entitled to under the law and our compliance and enforcement work helps to achieve this.
“The AER is always working to ensure markets are working effectively and in the long-term interests of consumers. We are always committed to working with industry to help them understand and meet their compliance obligations as we deliver improved outcomes for consumers,” Ms Savage said.
The AER intends to deliver further compliance and enforcement outcomes focusing on hardship and payment plan protections, billing and pricing obligations, life support, wholesale electricity market obligations and critical infrastructure standards as well as monitoring the new Gas Market Transparency Measures.
The publication of the 2022-23 compliance and enforcement report follows the release of the AER’s compliance and enforcement priorities for 2023–24, which were launched by Ms Savage during a speech at Energy Week Australia in June.