Rule Change: Open

Overview

The AEMC would like to hear your views on whether the energy rules need to change to better protect customers affected by family violence.

Red Energy and Lumo Energy have requested new assistance and protections for residential retail customers affected by family violence and economic abuse in particular. It is partly modelled on changes in Victoria’s Energy Retail Code, that came into effect at the beginning of 2020.

Economic abuse involves behaviours that control a person’s ability to acquire, use and maintain economic resources. It is often associated with other forms of intimate partner violence such as physical and psychological abuse.

The National Energy Retail Rules do not contain specific protections for customers affected by family violence, however the AER considers that family violence can be a cause of hardship.

Forum and Consultation paper 

The Commission will use open and inclusive consultation on this rule change. We invite victims/survivors, family violence service providers, community and peak bodies, governments, other essential services and businesses seeking to end financial abuse to be involved.

To participate in the forum in February 2022, please register interest by emailing ProjectRRC0042@aemc.gov.au

The Commission also encourages you to provide a written submission to the consultation paper. Submissions are due by 3 March 2022.

Background

Financial security is an important factor in victims gaining freedom from abusive partners. A victim's financial security can be affected by partners who control household finances and accounts and incur debts in a victim's name. A conservative estimate is that economic abuse occurs in 50 per cent of family violence cases
 

Services like electricity, gas, water and communications can be used to control and harm victims, because they are essential for active participation in daily life. 

This was also acknowledged by the Royal Commission into Family Violence, which recommended the Victorian Government and the Essential Services Commission of Victoria (ESCV) work together to make changes to energy and water regulation in Victoria to address economic abuse.

On 22 May 2019 the ESCV released its final decision and final ERC changes to support family violence provisions for retailers. These amendments came into effect in Victoria on 1 January 2020. 
 

Documentation