The AEMC today published a consultation paper on 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 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 proposed rule change 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 would 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 proposed rule change would 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 consultation paper seeks stakeholder feedback on the rule change request including the potential costs and benefits of the proposed new obligations. Submissions are due by 18 July 2017.
Media: Prudence Anderson 0404 821 935 or (02) 8296 7817