Alinta Energy Retail: alleged hardship breaches

Category: 
Administrative outcome
Release date: 
8 October 2021

Overview

Alinta Energy Retail Sales Pty Ltd (Alinta Energy) has substantially improved its systems and is waiving more than $1 million in energy debt owed by more than 400 of its affected customers, following an investigation by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER).

The AER was concerned that Alinta Energy may have contravened the National Energy Retail Law and/or National Energy Retail Rules by: 

  • requiring customers experiencing hardship or payment difficulties to see a financial counsellor and/or make upfront payments towards arrears owing on their accounts, in circumstances where Alinta should have identified and assisted the relevant customers to join Alinta’s hardship program, or offered the customers sustainable payment plans;
  • automatically cancelling customers’ payment plans after one missed scheduled payment, instead of contacting the relevant customers in a timely manner to assist with the missed payment, as required by Alinta’s hardship policy; and
  • disconnecting customers other than as a last resort.