Consumer Action has made a submission to Australian Energy Regulator about regulating innovative energy selling business models under the National Energy Retail Law.
The issue of appropriate regulation of alternative energy selling business models is timely, given the transformation of the energy market currently underway. This will see a proliferation of more complex energy products and services offered to consumers, predominantly unlocked by smart metering. This includes competitive provision of smart metering itself, in addition to generation and storage products and packages, the advent of cost-reflective network pricing and the myriad add-on services which will be offered by third party providers. This rapid evolution of the demand-facing energy market will challenge the current consumer protection framework, as unforeseen business models enter the market. The regulation of innovative energy sellers must be considered in this broader context, including the importance of strong consumer engagement and trust in realising the benefits of the Power of Choice reforms.
In previous submissions to the AER on the exemptions framework, we have expressed concerns with the complexity that alternative energy sellers can introduce into the market. It is important to be clear that Consumer Action does not oppose innovation in products and services and increasing effective competition in the energy market—indeed, we see great potential for consumers to find products that better suit their needs and help them to reduce their energy costs. However, we continue to be concerned that innovation is supported by effective consumer protection and dispute resolution to ensure a transparent market that builds consumer engagement and trust.
A full copy of our submission is available by clicking: Regulating innovative energy selling business models.