We are amending the codes that regulate Victorian energy retailers, electricity distribution, gas distribution and embedded electricity networks to strengthen and clarify protections for Victorian customers who require life support equipment.

We have published a draft decision which sets out these proposed amendments to the Energy Retail Code, Electricity Distribution Code and Gas Distribution System Code.

What are we proposing to do?

Maintain and clarify existing protections

  • Existing life support protections in the Energy Retail Code and Electricity Distribution Code will be maintained.
  • The obligation in the Gas Distribution System Code requiring gas distributors to notify customers of interruptions will be maintained.
  • We have been guided by the recently amended National Energy Retail Rules to address some of the gaps and deficiencies in our existing Codes in relation to life support customers.

Add further protections

  • Retailers and exempt sellers who bill customers in embedded networks will be required to ask customers whether they require life support equipment in certain circumstances
  • Clarify responsibilities of customers and energy businesses in situations where life support equipment is fuelled by both electricity and gas
  • Customers will be permitted to use a medical certificate from a registered medical practitioner that states the customer requires life support equipment to fulfil the medical confirmation requirement.
  • Those who are exempt from holding an electricity licence (‘exempt persons’), such as embedded electricity network sellers and suppliers, will also have to register life support customers to ensure that a premises requiring life support equipment is registered all relevant parties (electricity retailers, distributors and suppliers).

Who will the new rules apply to?

  • licensed energy businesses, such as electricity and gas retailers and distributors
  • those who are exempt from holding an electricity licence (‘exempt persons’), such as embedded electricity network sellers and suppliers

When will the new rules will apply?

The new obligations will take effect from 1 January 2020, with some transitional arrangements for legacy life support customers to come into effect from 1 December 2019.

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