The Retail Law requires that anyone selling energy to customers must either hold a retailer authorisation or a valid exemption. While most sellers of energy will hold an authorisation, there will be some circumstances where an authorisation is not appropriate. This could include retirement villages, caravan parks or any other arrangement where an owner purchases energy from an authorised retailer and then 'onsells' the energy to tenants.
The Retail Law allows these types of entities to be exempted from the requirement to hold a retailer authorisation. The Retail Law and Rules set out the exemptions framework, and the AER is responsible for regulating exempt persons and placing conditions on exemptions.
The Retail Rules provide for three different types of exemption:
- deemed exemptions,
- registrable exemptions, and
- individual exemptions
To manage this process, the AER has published the exempt selling guideline. The guideline explains how to apply for an individual exemption, and how to obtain a registrable exemption (by registering with the AER as belonging to a class of registrable exemption). It also discusses the factors that the AER will consider in assessing individual exemption applications. The guideline sets out the various classes of deemed and registrable exemptions, and the conditions attached to each class of deemed and registrable exemption.
The AER approved the guideline on 18 March 2016. It replaced the previous exempt selling guideline of April 2015.