The AEMC has released a draft rule to make it easier for customers needing life support equipment to shop around for better deals by allowing them to reuse certain medical documents needed when switching energy suppliers. Submissions are called on the draft rule that reduces barriers to switching energy retailers by consumers who need life support equipment such as kidney dialysis machines.  

The Energy and Water Ombudsman of New South Wales (EWON) submitted a rule change request aiming to reduce the costs and mobility issues from the additional visits to doctors that life support customers may face in switching suppliers. 

The more preferable draft rule released today enables life support customers to receive back and re-utilise their medical confirmation form (MCF) or other medical confirmation documents submitted for medical confirmation when changing retailer or distribution network service provider, provided it is dated less than 4 years ago and is legible. This will mean that the life support customer may not have to visit a doctor to provide confirmation of life support status to their new retailer or distributor. 

To assist with this, the more preferable draft rule provides timeframes under which the customer’s outgoing retailer or distributor needs to return the medical confirmation to the customer and requires the outgoing retailer or distributor to hold onto the customer’s life support documentation for a period of time after they have switched retailers or moved.

The more preferable draft rule also updates the definition of “medical confirmation” to make it clear that a medical certificate can be used as medical confirmation of life support requirements.

The more preferable draft rule is expected to reduce costs for life support customers when compared to current arrangements by enabling these customers to reuse their existing confirmation documents for the purpose of providing medical confirmation. As a result, life support customers as expected to enjoy greater flexibility to access retail energy markets. 
The AEMC is a long-standing advocate for allowing consumers to shop around for the best deal they can get in the retail energy market. 

Stakeholders are invited to provide feedback on the draft determination and draft rule by 14 January 2021.

Media: Kellie Bisset, Media and Content Manager, 0438 490 041