We are reviewing the protections for customers within the code, such as when customers can be financially recognised for low reliability of electricity supply. This is part of a broader code review.
Customer protections in the Electricity Distribution Code (2019 review)
Draft decision7 May 2020
Stakeholder webinar25 June 2020
Submissions close2 July 2020
Final decisionSecond half of 2020
As part of our Electricity Distribution Code review, we are reviewing the customer protection framework for electricity customers.
The code has service standards to protect customers as they interact with the electricity network. We want to ensure they remain fit for purpose and reflect customer expectations as the electricity sector undergoes change and modernisation. The customer service standards include:
- the guaranteed service level scheme - this includes financial recognition for qualifying customers related to low supply reliability and qualify. Other types of protection includes customers who experience delays with new connections or where distributors are late to scheduled appointments
- communication requirements for planned outages - distributors must provide minimum levels of notification to customers about scheduled works.
Key facts from our proposal
Planned outage communications
Our proposal will facilitate better information exchange between retailers, distributors and ultimately with customers.
We are also proposing to modernise the way distributors can communicate planned outages to customers. This includes improving the information customers receive about planned outages and ensuring customers know when planned outages are cancelled in many circumstances.
Distributors will also have flexibility to interrupt supply at short notice if certain conditions are satisfied.
Guaranteed service level scheme
The proposed rules will also modernise our guaranteed service level scheme to:
- ensure it remains fit for purpose and captures customers who receive the poorest service from their distributor
- update the value of payments and payment thresholds
- ensure customers receive timely payments.
New reporting requirements
Our proposed reporting reforms would require distributors to report to us on:
- the time it takes to process embedded generation applications and connect solar and battery systems
- all guaranteed service level data they currently provide to the Australian Energy Regulator.
In our draft decision, we signaled that we expected the reforms to come into effect from 1 November 2020 for electricity retailers and 1 January 2021 for electricity distributors.
However, we are conscious of the current coronavirus pandemic and its impacts on the energy industry and the Victorian community. Accordingly, we will continue to monitor the situation and re-evaluate the commencement of these proposed reforms as needed.
Consultation on our draft decision
Consultation on our draft decision closed on 2 July 2020.
As part of our consultation on our draft decision we met with:
- all five electricity distributors
- eight retailers
- two consumer groups
- and the Energy and Water Ombudsman (Victoria).
We also held a stakeholder webinar to present what we heard during this consultation. The webinar was attended by 32 stakeholders including one member of the public and representatives from:
- all five electricity distributors
- 10 retailers
- four consumer groups
- Energy Safe Victoria
- the Energy and Water Ombudsman (Victoria)
- the Department of Environment, Land, Water and planning.
Much of the feedback focused on fine tuning and refining the framework. Some of the key matters stakeholders raised pivoted around the practicalities of implementing the reforms along with a customer centric approach. We will continue to consider these feedback about the design of the final framework in a way that achieves the intent of our draft decisions while taking stakeholder views into account.
The key feedback on our proposals related to:
- requiring retailers to collect and share customer information, including email addresses and phone numbers, with distributors
- ensuring that retailers apply guaranteed service level payments to customer accounts in a timely manner
- requiring distributors to obtain explicit informed consent to provide customers with only electronic notification of planned supply outages
- ensuring distributors make guaranteed service level payments in a timely way
- making sure customers are notified about the cancellation of works in most circumstances
- notifying local communities about the potential for unplanned outages due to the annual compliance testing of bushfire safety equipment
- considering the commencement time frames for the new rules.
A more detailed summary of the feedback received so far can be downloaded below. The stakeholder webinar slides and recording can also be accessed below.
Stakeholders are still welcome to engage with us following the end of the consultation period before we make our final decision. Enquiries can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Stakeholder consultation resources
Draft decision document
The code has many different areas to consider. Throughout 2019-20 and beyond, we are engaging with many different stakeholders as we consider the matters outlined for review.
If you would like to receive direct updates and notifications about our project, please email email@example.com.