Energy retailers push for rule change on family violence

Little girl looks scared as father yells at her and her mother (family violence)
Image: Shutterstock

Snowy Hydro energy retailers Red Energy and Lumo Energy have requested a change to the National Energy Retail Rules that will increase protections for consumers affected by family violence no matter where they live in Australia.

The rule change request has been developed in consultation with the Australian Energy Regulator, retailers, consumer advocates and ombudsman. It would place a requirement on energy retailers to provide assistance and support to consumers affected by family violence.

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As part of these proposed changes energy retailers will be required to:

  • Provide consumers affected by family violence with safe, supportive and flexible assistance in managing their personal and financial security. 
  • Establish a family violence policy which is publicly available on their website outlining the support available for affected customers. 
  • Keep the contact information and personal details of customers affected by family violence secure. 
  • Require that energy retailers recognise family violence as a potential cause of payment difficulty. 

Red Energy and Lumo Energy CEO Iain Graham said extending these protections to all consumers was the decent thing to do.

“Family violence doesn’t discriminate and it certainly doesn’t stop at state borders. We know one in four women will be affected by [this] in their lifetime. This is a tragic statistic and one we believe we have some responsibility as a business to try to change,” Graham said.

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When the Victorian Government introduced changes to the Energy Retail Code and introduced protections for Victorian consumers in 2019, Mr Graham immediately extended those protections to all customers. He believes it’s time the National Energy Retail Rules were officially changed to ensure all retailers provided protections to all consumers should they need it. 

The details of the request can be found here.