26 September 2023

More power to consumers’ electricity code

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The Department of the Environment and Energy has issued a consultation paper on proposals to strengthen a Competition and Consumer Code relating to the electricity retail industry in a bid to make it more competitive and transparent.

The Code includes a price safety net to cap standing offer prices in electricity distribution regions where prices are not already subject to price regulation. It also requires retailers to use a common reference point for comparing electricity offers.

In a statement, the Department said it anticipated that the proposed amendments would expand the scope and operation of the Code.

“The outcomes of this consultation will inform the finalised amending regulations,” the Department said.

“Interested parties are invited to submit their responses to the discussion questions in the consultation paper.”

It said the decision to strengthen the Code was taken following the announcement by the Government that it would implement a Default Market Offer (DMO) for retail electricity standing offers as recommended by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in its Retail Electricity Pricing Inquiry final report.

“The Government also announced it would adopt the ACCC’s recommendation to use the new default rate as a reference point in advertising,” the Department said.

“These reforms are needed to improve, among other things, competition and transparency in the retail sector to deliver better price outcomes for consumers and address barriers to effective consumer engagement.”

Consultation on the amendments to the Code is open until 6 November and the 11-page consultation paper can be accessed at this PS News link.

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