National Energy Customer Framework
What is the National Energy Customer Framework?
The National Energy Customer Framework (NECF) delivers competition benefits to consumers, as well as reduced compliance cost and efficiencies with regulatory certainty.
It is a single, simplified, national regulator. It began on 1 July 2012, introducing a set of national laws, rules and regulations on the retail sale and distribution of energy to consumers (not technical regulation).
The NECF primarily deals with:
- interactions with customers and retailers, including rights, obligations and consumer protection
- retailer authorisations (previously jurisdictionally licensed)
- monitoring, enforcing and providing performance reporting.
Under the NECF, the Australian Energy Regulator is responsible for regulating energy retailers and administering a service that compares energy prices for consumers.
The NECF regulates the sale and supply of energy through the national retail rules created by the Australian Energy Market Commission.
The NECF deals with key Government instruments such as:
- National Energy Retail Law Act 2011
- National Energy Retail Regulations
- National Energy Retail Rules
- amendments and additions to rules made under the National Electricity Law amendments and additions to the rules under the National Gas Law.
These instruments are available on the South Australian legislation register.
More information on the rules: AEMC.
The ACT’s implementation of the National Energy Customer Framework
The ACT applied these NECF instruments, from 1 July 2012:
The National Energy Retail Law (ACT) Act 2012 applies the National Energy Retail Law in the ACT. It maintains pre-NECF customer contracts, associated benefits and protections. It also ensured a smooth transition to the new regulatory framework on behalf of consumers.
The National Energy Retail Law (ACT) Regulation 2012 provides for:
- operating the National Energy Retail Law in border areas of the ACT serviced by distribution networks from New South Wales
- ensuring retailers or distributors comply with regulations when providing services, including connecting and re-energising premises
- applying certain voluntary parts of the NECF, including allowing the sale of energy to small customers using prepayment meter systems and adopting the Australian Energy Regulator’s price comparison website (Energy Made Easy)
- implementing miscellaneous transitional arrangements.
Amendments to the ACT’s energy laws were necessary after the National Energy Retail Law was implemented. These are in the National Energy Retail Law (Consequential Amendments) Act 2012.
In particular, energy retailers authorised to sell under the National Energy Retail Law are obligated to follow these ACT laws:
- Electricity Feed-in (Renewable Energy Premium) Act 2008
- Electricity Safety Act 1971
- Energy Efficiency (Cost of Living) Improvement Act 2012
- Gas Safety Act 2000
- Utilities Act 2000 (including the obligation to pay the Energy Industry Levy).
More information: ACT legislation register.
ACT modification of National Energy Retail Rules
The National Energy Retail Rules apply in the ACT as modified by Schedule 1 to the National Energy Retail Law (ACT) Regulation 2012. Modifications are in this table:
National energy retail rule
Omit the words ‘unless the customer is a small market offer customer’
The National Energy Retail Rules apply in the ACT as modified by Schedule 1 to the National Energy Retail Law (ACT) Regulation 2012.
This modification is consequential to the ACT’s non- application of the small market offer customer category (section 19, National Energy Retail Law (ACT) Act 2012).
The Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission is responsible for codes relating to National Energy Retail Law energy retailers and distributors.
For a list of the industry codes that apply to retailers and distributors: ACT legislation register.
Australian Capital Territory Civil and Administrative Tribunal
The Australian Capital Territory Civil and Administrative Tribunal is the ombudsman dealing with complaints on the sale and supply of energy to customers.
More information: www.acat.act.gov.au/