The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) is responsible for energy market regulation. Among its functions, the AER monitors, investigates and enforces compliance with obligations under the National Energy Retail Law (Retail Law) and National Energy Retail Rules (Retail Rules). This includes developing Compliance Procedures and Guidelines (the Guidelines) that apply to energy businesses in jurisdictions that have adopted the Retail Law. It sets out the manner and form businesses must submit compliance information and data to the AER. The Guidelines also includes guidance on the carrying out of compliance audits under the Retail Law.
On 14 December 2017, the AER released revised guidelines which incorporate changes to the compliance reporting template under the Compliance Guidelines. The changes were designed to address inefficiencies by reducing the time and effort required by regulated entities in preparing reports and to improve the overall quality of reporting. It would also permit better analysis of reporting trends and emerging issues of concern.
The AER has also released a Practice Guide for Compliance Audits to further supplement the information on compliance audits in the Guidelines.
The Guidelines were last revised in June 2017 and that revision incorporated changes to the reporting framework to:
- capture new rules such as metering contestability
- making all prohibited de-energisation provisions immediately reportable
- changing the reporting categories to immediate, quarterly and half yearly
- the removal of the Type 3 reporting category and
- minor amendments to the compliance reporting template including at the request of businesses a unique ID.
Since the inception of the Guidelines the AEMC has made a number of rule changes to the Retail Rules. Given these developments, there was a need to re-open the Guidelines to consider if any of these rules should be incorporated into the reporting framework. In reviewing the Guidelines, the AER has also proposed amendments to further refine the reporting framework and to revise the guidance material on compliance audits to reflect the AER's approach to utilising its powers under the Retail Law.