26 September 2023

Utility watchdog finds rebates slow

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The Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission’s (ICRC) Utility Licence Annual Report for 2018-19 has found that licensed utilities were still slow in paying rebates to their customers.

In its Report the Commission said its assessment focused on licensed utilities’ compliance requirements and obligations related to interruptions to services; customer complaints; consumer protections; and general licence and reporting obligations specific to each utility service.

“Rebate payments to customers under the Consumer Protection Code remained low despite utilities reporting failures to meet minimum service standards,” the ICRC said.

“Icon Water and Evoenergy both reported that no claims were made by customers for rebate payments,” it said.

“This may indicate that customers are unaware of the minimum service standards and their right to claim rebates.”

The ICRC said the overall compliance of licensed utilities during 2018–19 was assessed as good.

“While several minor non-compliances were reported, none were found to be material,” it said.

“Customer complaints decreased significantly for Icon Water, while Evoenergy saw a continued decrease in its electricity distribution complaints.”

The ICRC said a new Consumer Protection Code would come into effect from 1 July, requiring utilities to automatically pay rebates when guaranteed service levels (currently known as minimum service standards) were not met.

The ICRC’s 62-page report can be accessed at this PS News link.

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