As a special condition of its licences, Telstra Energy will establish a specialist team to handle all enquiries and complaints for its Victorian energy customers. This will ensure that Telstra Energy customers in Victoria get dedicated support.
Commission chair Kate Symons said the commission will be keeping a close eye on Telstra Energy’s compliance in the energy sector. Telstra Group has an extensive history of non-compliance in the telecommunications sector and stakeholders expressed significant concerns about this during the consultation on the licence applications.
Telstra Energy is required to limit customer numbers for the first six months and senior executives will be directly accountable for any energy disconnections for non-payment and for reporting any breaches of the energy rules to the commission.
There will be an independent review of Telstra Energy’s compliance with Victoria’s energy laws after two and a half years, with the findings reported to the commission.
Ms Symons said the commission received 14 submissions from a range of interested stakeholders and held two roundtable discussions – including with members of the Victorian Aboriginal Executive Council and also with representatives from Victorian seniors’ organisations.
She said the commission decision balanced the need to ensure effective protections for energy consumers with potential benefits that a number of stakeholders raised.
“We conducted consultation with these stakeholders over a six-week period and considered Telstra Energy’s response to this feedback.” Ms Symons said.
Telstra Energy must comply with Victoria’s comprehensive customer protection framework, including requirements to assist customers who have trouble paying their energy bills, customers affected by family violence and customers who need life support equipment.