Strengthening protections for customers requiring life support equipment

19 December 2017

The AEMC today published a final rule in response to a rule change request from the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) to strengthen protections for customers requiring life support equipment, for example a ventilator or kidney dialysis machine. 

There are already rules in place that limit when electricity retailers and distributors are able to interrupt supply to life support customers, for example to undertake planned maintenance. In these limited circumstances, customers must be given at least four business days written notice.

Customers are generally required to provide a medical certificate to be placed on the retailer or distributor’s life support register, although the AER acknowledges retailers and distributors register customers when they are advised by the customer, whether or not a medical certificate is provided.

The final rule aims to formalise and strengthen the protection framework by clarifying that protections apply from the time customers first inform their retailer or distributor they require life support equipment. In addition, retailers and distributors will be required to provide information on the customer’s rights and obligations under the life support rules within five days of the initial contact.

The final rule will also require retailers and distributors to follow a more clearly defined process for confirming a customer’s eligibility for the register and for removing a customer from the register when they move or no longer need life support equipment. 

The new arrangements roll out from 1 February 2018.

Media: Bronwyn Rosser 0423 280 341 or (02) 8296 7847