Consumers rely on energy distribution businesses to ensure a consistent supply of their essential electricity services. It is important that these businesses are regulated effectively so that consistent supply is maintained with only efficient costs being covered by consumers.
In our comment on Essential Services Commission (ESC) Electricity Distribution Code Review Issues Paper, Consumer Action urges the ESC to set obligations on distributors to proactively contact vulnerable customers about unplanned outages requiring multiple, staggered forms of communication.
It is also essential that all consumers receive effective communications from businesses about outages as well as fair and timely compensation for failures in electricity networks. Furthermore, if a consumer is delivered electricity in an embedded network, they should expect the same protection and compensation as their peers in mainstream arrangements.
Consumer Action’s submission also recommends:
- Updating obligations on distributors to inform government departments of unplanned outages to better align with the consequences consumers may face;
- Requiring distributors to inform consumers of the reason for the outage and for consumers to be able to request reasonable compensation or timing changes where a planned outage is for private and non-essential work for another consumer; and
- Reducing delays to consumers receiving some GSL payments after outages occur.