The AEMC today started work on a package of law and rule changes to strengthen protections and improve access to competitive retail offers for customers who purchase power from an embedded network provider instead of buying direct from electricity retailers.
The growth in apartment developments and changing preferences for locally produced renewable power is expanding the number of electricity customers living and working in premises connected to embedded networks such as green commercial precincts and apartment blocks, shopping centres, and caravan parks. There are now over 200,000 embedded network customers, and rising.
Embedded networks can provide benefits to consumers, provided they are appropriately regulated and customers are fully informed when they sign up to these deals. These benefits can include innovative products and services to help manage energy costs such as on-site solar generation and demand management services.
However, the AEMC’s 2017 Review of regulatory arrangements for embedded networks found many embedded network customers are not receiving better prices and are less able to change supplier if they are unhappy. In practice, embedded network 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 consumer protections for embedded network customers.
To address these issues, the AEMC will now develop a package of law and rule changes for governments to update the regulatory frameworks that apply to embedded networks. We will consult with stakeholders in developing the package.
We plan to publish a draft report in late 2018.
Media: Communications Director, Prudence Anderson, 0404 821 935 or (02) 8296 7817