Strengthening protections for customers in hardship draft rule determination Alternative formats available on request to PIAC - Contact PIAC
PIAC responded to the AEMC’s strengthening protections for customers in hardship draft rule determination.
PIAC broadly supports the intent of the draft rule, which will provide the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) with greater scope to ensure that retailers more consistently meet their obligations to assist customers experiencing payment difficulty due to hardship.
However, we consider that the current rule change is insufficient and that much more comprehensive reform is required to address long-standing, structural flaws in the way that the National Energy Retail Law (NERL) provides for protection and assistance for consumers experiencing payment difficulty.
PIAC strongly recommends removing the current framework’s differentiation between payment difficulty and payment difficulty due to hardship as it creates barriers to accessing the most effective early support and assistance measures for consumers.
PIAC also recommends more fundamental reforms to the NERL, advocating the AEMC make a recommendation to the COAG Energy Council that the Council commence a comprehensive process of reform of the elements of the NERL relating to hardship and payment difficulty.