The AEMC today published a draft report recommending changes to improve embedded networks customers’ access to retail competition and consumer protections.

Embedded networks are private electricity networks which serve multiple customers and are connected to another distribution or transmission system in the national grid through a parent connection point. Common examples of embedded networks include shopping centres, retirement villages, apartment complexes and caravan parks.

The number of embedded network customers is growing - now estimated at over 200,000 - and the number and type of businesses offering embedded network services is also expanding.

While embedded networks can provide benefits to consumers, the draft report found that many embedded network customers are not receiving these benefits. Embedded network customers are also less able to change supplier if they are unhappy with the price they are paying or level of service they are receiving.

In practice, embedded networks customers receive fewer consumer protections than customers with standard supply arrangements.  Also, the Australian Energy Regulator does not have appropriate powers to monitor and enforce exemption conditions.

The AEMC is recommending changes to energy laws and rules that would improve access to competition, provide embedded network customers with an appropriate set of protections, and clarify minimum obligations to supply and sell electricity to embedded network customers. This will allow embedded network customers to access new products and services within a clear regulatory framework that provides appropriate check and balances.

Submissions from stakeholders on the draft report are due by 17 October 2017. A stakeholder workshop with Commissioners will be held on 4 October 2017 in Sydney.  If you would like to attend the workshop register here.

The final report is due to be published on 28 November 2017.

Media: Prudence Anderson, Communications Director, 0404 821 935 or (02) 8296 7817