This page sets out ways retailers can voluntarily cease energy sales and exit the market.
Retailers considering ceasing energy selling are encouraged to start thinking about and planning your exit from the market as early as possible. This will enable you to achieve the best outcome for you and your customers.
You are encouraged to contact the AER in the early stages of planning to seek information, including in relation to options, administrative process and timing. Timing is likely to vary depending on your particular circumstances. You can contact the AER via: AERauthorsations.gov.au.
Information about our process for assessing voluntary retailer exit is also provided in the AER retailer authorisation guideline.
A retailer may plan to cease energy selling by surrendering its retailer authorisation. If the surrendering retailer has customers, it must ensure customers are transferred to another retailer (with an existing authorisation), to ensure customers maintain continuity of supply through the surrender process. This includes ensuring customers are not disconnected, as well as ensuring continuity of customer payment arrangements.
The retailer must also ensure its customers do not suffer unnecessary detriment as a result of being transferred to another retailer, and that customers have all necessary information to make an informed choice about their energy service, including providing customers with an opportunity to switch to another retailer without penalty.
The AER may impose conditions on the surrendering retailer to manage the transfer of customers. Conditions are determined on a case-by-case basis and typically cover customer contract terms, payment arrangements, life support and exit fees. Non-compliance with these conditions is subject to civil penalty provisions.
Refer to the AER retailer authorisation guideline for information on the AER assessment process for surrender applications. The AER may consult, and share information, with the ACCC when we receive a surrender application.
When discussing arrangements for the transfer of customers with another retailer, you should be aware of your obligations under competition laws. Retailers discussing customer transfers in relation to surrender applications are encouraged to seek legal advice as to the appropriate structure for the transfer of customers and any competition law risks that may arise, including under the merger or cartel provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act (2010).
Retailers can transfer an authorisation to another legal entity in certain situations, for example, where there is a change in the legal entity holding the retailer authorisation.
To transfer an authorisation, the retailer and transferee (incoming retailer) need to submit a joint application to the AER.
The option to transfer a retailer authorisation to another legal entity should only be considered where the incoming retailer is not yet authorised.
Applications to transfer a retailer authorisation will be assessed in the same manner as a new application for retailer authorisation. Applicants must satisfy the entry criteria set out in the AER retailer authorisation guideline. In assessing the application, the AER will similarly focus on customer outcomes of the proposed transfer process, and may apply conditions to manage the transfer of customers.
Retailers discussing customer transfers in relation to transfer applications are encouraged to seek legal advice as to the appropriate structure for the transfer of customers and any competition law risks that may arise, including under the merger or cartel provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act (2010).
Refer to the AER retailer authorisation guideline for information on the AER assessment process for transfer applications.