NSW Government ‘Consumer protection in a changing world’ review Alternative formats available on request to PIAC - Contact PIAC
PIAC lodged a submission to the NSW Department of Planning and Environment’s discussion paper. The National Energy Customer Framework (NECF) is intended to work in conjunction with the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) with respect to consumer protections. However, the NECF itself only provides for the energy-specific regulation where there is a sale of electricity or gas to a customer through a meter. This means that providers of many energy related services, with similar potential consumer harms to those where energy is transacted – such as the leasing of rooftop solar systems – do not currently have to comply with any energy-specific regulation under the NECF. Instead, they are only bound to more general consumer protections under ACL.
PIAC supports providing consumer protections which are agnostic with regard to the energy supply model (eg the technology, location, existence of a meter and the ownership/financial arrangements), but are commensurate to the potential harm to the consumer should they lose that energy product or service; the higher the potential harm, the stronger the protections that should be offered to the customer. This would involve changes to the obligations around Explicit Informed Consent, system performance, access to independent dispute resolution, access to concessions and rebates, and access to hardship and payment support plans.