Our audit program allows the commission to monitor and report on energy licensees' compliance with their regulatory obligations.
Energy retailers audit reports
We audit energy businesses to help us understand how energy businesses are complying with rules designed to protect consumers. If we detect problems through our audit program, we can investigate further and may take enforcement action.
Who we audited
The 2018–19 audit re-examined five energy retailers’ compliance in 2018 following issues found in previous audits.
Retailers audited were:
- Alinta Energy
- Blue NRG
- Origin Energy
- Simply Energy
All retailers, except Blue NRG (a new retailer), were audited for the third time since 2016.
The audits focused on some of our continuing priority areas including:
- transferring customers without consent
- wrongfully disconnecting customers
- overcharging customers.
These rules can be found in our Energy Retail Code of Practice. Electricity and gas retail licences require licensed retailers to comply with these codes.
The audits found repeat instances of potential non-compliance. You can find the full audit results here.
Risk of wrongfully disconnecting customers, and not arranging disconnections requested by the customer in a timely manner
Blue NRG did not have adequate business processes to identify and prevent potentially wrongful disconnections. Our Energy Retail Code requires retailers to take certain steps before they arrange your disconnection. If you request to be disconnected, they must make sure the disconnection is organised in a timely manner.
Read about Blue NRG’s audit.
Recovering excess undercharges
Origin Energy incorrectly calculated some of their recovery of undercharges, meaning greater amounts were recovered than allowed. Where retailers undercharge their customers, our Energy Retail Code limits the amount they may recover.
Read about Origin Energy’s audit.
Obtaining and recording customer consent
Several retailers were unable to show us that they had obtained customers’ consent over the phone before switching customers to their plan, as required by our Energy Retail Code. This is important so we can make sure retailers are not switching your account without allowing you to make an informed and clearly communicated choice.
Through the audit process, we looked into why retailers were potentially non-compliant and recommended they take action to directly address the causes of potential non-compliance.
We take all findings of potential non-compliance seriously, especially repeat findings. We continue to closely monitor energy business’ compliance and can take a range of compliance and enforcement actions in response to audit findings, including recommending the retailer to review and update its systems, retrain staff and improve record keeping. More serious findings may result in further investigation and enforcement action.
Read more about our Compliance and Enforcement approach and priorities.
Retailers’ audit results
Read the audit results:
What about 2020?
Read more about who and what areas we are auditing in our current energy audit program.
2018: baseline audits
During 2018 1st Energy, CovaU, Diamond Energy, Next Business Energy, Sumo Power and Tango Energy were audited on: managing life support customers, hardship programs, sales and marketing practices, compliance performance reporting, disconnections and reconnections, billing, advanced metering infrastructure, dispute resolution, tariff variations and deemed customer arrangements.
2017: targeted reviews
During 2017, eleven retailers who had previously been audited during the 2015-16 period underwent a more targeted review, which tested obligations for: explicit informed consent; payment plans; and compliance performance and reporting. Below are the fact sheet summaries for the retailer targeted reviews:
2017: baseline health checks
During 2017, four newer retailers underwent a baseline audit which tested obligations for compliance performance and reporting; life support; marketing; billing; advanced metering infrastructure; financial hardship programs; disconnections and reconnections; complaints and dispute resolution; tariff variations; and deemed customer arrangements. Below are the fact sheet summaries for the retailer baseline audits:
2017: distributor audits
During 2017, five electricity distributors and three gas distributors were audited on obligations for: life support and planned interruptions (electricity distributors only); guaranteed service levels; compliance management systems; and complaints and dispute resolution. Below are the fact sheet summaries for the distributor audits:
Audit report summaries 2016
During 2016, a number of retailers underwent a baseline health check. Here are the summaries: