New rule to support customers who are transferred to new retailers without consent

02 February 2017

The Australian Energy Market Commission has made a final rule placing new obligations on electricity and gas retailers who transfer small customers without informed consent.

It often takes energy customers considerable time and effort to get retailers to resolve issues caused by transfers to new retailers without informed consent. Sometimes the wrong customer is transferred by mistake. In other cases customers may not have been given all the information they needed before the transfer took place.

The final rule published today is a more preferable rule based on a request from the COAG Energy Council.  It establishes a clear process and timeframes for retailers to resolve transfers that happen without customer consent. Retailers will also be prohibited from cutting off customers who have raised the issue of lack of consent to transfer, unless the issue has been resolved. This aspect of the rule has been revised from the draft rule in response to stakeholder feedback.

These new rules aim to strengthen customer confidence in the transfer process and support customers exercising their choice of retailer, and may also help to reduce complaints to ombudsmen regarding transfers without consent.

The Commission determined not to make a rule on an address standard for address data used when customers switch retailers. The Commission’s research and consultation indicated that, due to recent and upcoming system improvements by retailers, distribution businesses and others, an address standard would not be effective in further reducing transfer errors and delays. In addition, the proposed rule would be costly and complex to implement due to the required system changes, business process changes and staff training.

 

Media: Communication Manager, Prudence Anderson 0404 821 935 or (02) 8296 7817