Energy regulator commences court proceedings against AGL

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The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has commenced proceedings in the Federal Court against four subsidiaries of AGL Energy Limited, alleging they failed to submit timely and accurate retail market performance data in breach of the National Energy Retail Law.

These subsidiaries are: AGL Sales Pty Limited, AGL South Australia Pty Limited, AGL Retail Energy Limited, and Powerdirect Pty Ltd.

The AER alleges that AGL was late in submitting accurate performance data for each of the quarters of the 2017/18 financial year. 

The AER also alleges that the data initially submitted and then resubmitted by the four AGL companies was inaccurate for 544 of 600 performance indicators when combined across Quarters 1, 2 and 3.

The data for Quarter 4 was correct, but was submitted up to 19 days late by each of the four AGL companies.

The performance data contains important indicators on the retail energy market, including the number of customers in hardship programs, the number of customers disconnected for non-payment and overall customer numbers.

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AER Chair Clare Savage said that robust enforcement ensuring compliance with the law is vital to building consumer trust that companies are doing the right thing.

“The alleged failure by these AGL companies to submit accurate and timely retail market performance data may have led to the AER, and stakeholders that rely on data published by the AER, being misinformed,” she said.

“It is critical that all energy businesses have adequate systems and processes in place to ensure the information and data they submit to regulators is accurate and meets the submission deadline.

“AGL is a big player in the retail energy market which makes it all the more important that it has in place appropriate systems to provide the AER with accurate performance data within the timeframes required, so that the AER can correctly report on the market.

“Accurate and timely data is critical to the AER’s economic and market monitoring function which helps ensure market transparency and effective policy making.”

The AER is seeking declarations, pecuniary penalties and costs.

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