Overview

The Essential Services Commission reviewed the Electricity Distribution Code, which sets out the requirements for the distribution of electricity in Victoria from April 2019 to November 2020.

The commission consulted on proposed changes to the Electricity Distribution Code to strengthen the protections for customers relating to planned outages and the guaranteed service level scheme for customers who receive poor service from their distributor.

The commission released its final decision for customer service standards on 16 November 2020. Changes to the Electricity Distribution Code will be phased in over six months starting on 1 January 2021.

What we did

Final decision: technical standards (April 2020)

The commission released its draft decision on the changes to the technical standards in the Electricity Distribution Code on 3 December 2019 and consulted on them until 20 January 2019. The commission released its final decision on the code's technical standards on 3 April 2020.

Final decision: customer service standards (November 2020)

The commission released its draft decision on the customer service standards of the Electricity Distribution Code and consulted on the proposed reforms until 2 July 2020. You can read about the engagement process in our engagement summary report. The commission’s final decision was released on 16 November 2020. The commission’s final decision introduces a range of new obligations for retailers and distributors.

Key facts about the customer service standards final decision

In developing this package of reforms, the commission sought to enhance and improve customers’ experiences with both their retailer and distributor. The commission has done this by focusing on:

  • ensuring customer preferences are embedded in the new framework
  • implementing reforms that promote the long-term interests of customers, including those who might be experiencing vulnerability such as life support customers.

The reforms in the final decision also address key issues raised by stakeholders including:

  • ensuring electricity retailers provide customer contact details, including electronic details, to distributors in a timely way
  • modernising the communication channels distributors can use to notify customers about planned outages by focusing on customer preferences, while protecting life support customers
  • giving distributors and customers flexibility to interrupt supply at short notice, subject to explicit informed consent and record keeping obligations
  • ensuring customers are notified when planned outages are cancelled in many circumstances
  • modernising and updating our guaranteed service level scheme in line with community expectations.

About us

The Essential Services Commission is an independent regulator that promotes the long-term interests of Victorian consumers with respect to the price, quality and reliability of essential services. The commission regulates certain Victorian energy businesses (including electricity generators, transmission companies, distributors and retailers) through a combination of legislation, licences, and codes and guidelines. View more on how we regulate.