Life support compliance an issue for national energy regulator

Australia’s national energy regulator has warned electricity and gas suppliers are not taking the necessary steps required to ensure customers remain connected to life support systems, as outlined in the National Energy Retail Law.

The law includes protections for vulnerable consumers, including those who need electricity for life support equipment at their homes, as well as those in medical and care institutions.

Australian Energy Regulator (AER) chairman Andrew Reeves said the organisation is following up breaches of these obligations by electricity and gas suppliers and is taking several measures to ensure compliance.

In 2012 the AER penalised a distributor $40,000 for incorrectly disconnecting the premises of a customer with life support equipment. The distributor was also required to implement a compliance program to improve its practices.

These findings are included in the AER’s first annual retail law compliance report, which describes the compliance activities the AER undertook during 2012-13 and the compliance issues the AER observed. The report covers the period from July 1, 2012, to June 30, 2013, when energy retailers and distributors in the Australian Capital Territory, Tasmania and South Australia adopted the National Energy Retail Law.

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