The AER has accepted a court enforceable undertaking by Trinity Place Investments Pty Ltd (Trinity) after it admitted to overcharging consumers for electricity by approximately $34,000 between December 2019 and January 2023.
As part of the undertaking, Trinity has committed to contacting and refunding consumers that it overcharged within 12 months.
Trinity has also committed to no further overcharging and to improve its compliance systems and processes regarding energy pricing.
AER Board Member Mr Justin Oliver said the undertaking by Trinity reinforced that all energy sellers, large or small, have an important responsibility to comply with their pricing obligations under the relevant laws and rules or the AER’s Retail Exempt Selling Guideline (the Guideline).
“It’s more important than ever before for energy sellers to comply with their responsibilities.
“Consumers are already facing cost-of-living pressures and shouldn’t need to worry about the added stress of being overcharged by what is an essential service provider,” said Mr Oliver.
Between December 2019 and January 2023, approximately 110 consumers at Trinity’s Maroochy Cabins Complex at Diddillibah on the Sunshine Coast were charged electricity tariffs higher than the standing offer price that would be charged by the relevant local area retailer.
By overcharging consumers, the AER found that Trinity failed to comply with Condition 7 of the Guideline, breaching section 112(2) of the National Energy Retail Law (the Retail Law).
The Maroochy Cabins Complex is an embedded network, with electrical wiring configured to enable the site owner (Trinity) to sell energy to tenants and/or residents based there. As required by the Retail Law, Trinity holds an exemption from the AER to sell energy to these consumers without being an authorised retailer.
As an ‘exempt seller’, a range of conditions are imposed on Trinity under the Guideline. These conditions provide important protections to embedded network consumers, including maximum prices they can be charged for energy.
Current and former consumers at Maroochy Cabins that were overcharged between December 2019 and January 2023 do not need to take any action at this time. They will be contacted by Trinity in the next month regarding a refund on their electricity account.
Note to editors
Consumers in embedded networks can buy electricity from an authorised energy retailer or an exempt seller. If a consumer buys their electricity from an exempt seller, they are protected by the conditions imposed on the exempt seller under the Guideline.
Energy sellers in embedded networks must tell consumers about their rights at the beginning of their contract or agreement, including providing the consumer with a copy of the organisation’s exemption conditions and explaining their obligations to the consumer.