On 28 February 2017, the AER submitted a rule change request to the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) proposing changes to the National Energy Retail Rules (Retail Rules) relating to the protection of customers whose premises contains a person requiring life support equipment.
The Retail Rules set out the obligations on retailers and distributors to customers requiring life support equipment. Under the rules, customers requiring life support equipment at their premises must provide medical confirmation to be validly registered to receive the life support protections. Registration is critical to the protection of life support customers, as life support customers who are not registered in accordance with the Retail Rules can be lawfully de-energised.
Our work investigating breaches of the life support rules has shown deficiencies in the processes for life support registration. There is currently no obligation on retailers and distributors to actively facilitate confirmation, and the customer bears sole responsibility for confirming the need for life support equipment.
We have requested changes to Part 7 of the Retail Rules aimed at:
- simplifying the registration of premises where life support equipment is required
- clarifying retailer and distributor obligations with the introduction of processes to confirm the need for life support equipment and timeframes to provide information to customers to facilitate confirmation
- ensuring retailers and distributors have the same obligations in registering and protecting life support customers
- facilitating the process for removal of life support registration and assisting businesses to maintain current records with the introduction of a deregistration process.
We do not propose to remove the requirement for customers to provide medical confirmation and consider that it provides the requisite standard for verification of a need for life support equipment.
We consider the proposed changes will strengthen the life support rules and ensure that those requiring life support equipment are registered and receive the protections of the Retail Rules.
AER rule change proposal to the AEMC
More information on the AER's rule change request can be found on the AEMC's website.