Jurisdictional differences within the NECF
The National Energy Customer Framework (NECF) applies in each participating jurisdiction through state and territory laws. Each jurisdiction has adopted the NECF at different periods of time. Also, jurisdictions can (and have) modified the application of parts of the National Energy Retail Law (NERL) and National Energy Retail Rules (NERR) in their state or territory for example, by creating additional consumer protections or obligations on retailers or distributors.
The NECF was designed to regulate the sale and supply of electricity and gas to retail customers across the NEM. As noted in, state or territory modifications are creating regulatory inconsistency across jurisdictions which can potentially increase costs and barriers to entry and expansion in the retail market. In previous reviews the Commission noted that jurisdictions should consider harmonising their energy consumer protection arrangements so that barriers and costs are minimised.
The Queensland Government has commenced a review to assess whether the NERL (as adopted in Queensland) has met its objectives in terms of increased efficiencies and consumer protections, and to ensure the regulation is delivering a net benefit to Queensland customers. Specifically the review is focussed on the impact of the NERL, including the state specific modifications, on consumers of energy and whether the implementation of the Law has resulted in increased efficiencies or adversely affected customer protection in pursuit of national consistency.
The Commission supports this type of review and notes that other jurisdictions may wish to consider this process as a way to continue with regulatory consistency across the NEM. The Commission encourages that any jurisdictional modification should be considered as changes across the national framework and done through the rule change process. In addition to these jurisdictional actions (reviews), states and territories should recommit to pursue nationally consistent energy regulation wherever possible.