The Australian Energy Market Commission is calling for submissions on its proposal to place new obligations on electricity and gas retailers who transfer small customers without informed consent.

It often takes energy customers considerable time and effort to get retailers to resolve issues caused by transfers to new retailers without informed consent. Sometimes the wrong customer is transferred by mistake. In other cases customers may not have been given all the information they needed before the transfer took place.

The draft rule released today is a more preferable rule based on a request from the COAG Energy Council and addresses issues identified in the AEMC’s 2014 Customer Switching Review.

It establishes a clear process and timeframes for retailers to resolve transfers that happen without customer consent. Retailers would also be prohibited from de-energising customers who transferred within the last year unless there is a record of the customer's explicit informed consent to the transfer.

This would strengthen customer confidence in the transfer process and support customers exercising their choice of retailer, and may also help to reduce complaints to ombudsmen regarding transfers without consent.

The AEMC has determined not to make a draft rule on an address standard for address data used when customers switch retailers. The Commission’s research and consultation indicated that, due to recent and upcoming system improvements by retailers, distribution businesses and others, an address standard would not be effective in further reducing transfer errors and delays. In addition, the proposed rule would be costly and complex to implement due to the required system changes, business process changes and staff training.

Stakeholders are invited to make submissions on the draft determination by 22 December 2016.

Media: Communication Manager, Prudence Anderson 0404 821 935 or (02) 8296 7817