The Essential Services Commission, in consultation with the public, has amended 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.

The commission published its final decision on 5 December 2019. Our final decision sets out these new rules in the Energy Retail Code, Electricity Distribution Code and Gas Distribution System Code.

Key facts

The commission has made new rules that strengthen and clarify protections for Victorian customers who require life support equipment.

These strengthened protections include:

  • life support customers will receive protections once their retailer, distributor or embedded network is made aware of their needs
  • energy businesses to provide more comprehensive information to life support customers about their rights, processes and energy businesses’ obligations to them
  • customers who require gas to fuel their life support equipment will now receive the same protections as electricity customers
  • energy businesses to follow robust processes to have accurate life support registers
  • clearer processes from energy businesses when seeking medical confirmation from a customer
  • clearer and robust processes to validly deregister a life support customer’s premises

These are in addition to existing critical protections that prevent Victorian life support customers from being disconnected by their energy business and require distributors to notify customers of a planned interruption.

These changes apply to all licensed energy businesses, such as electricity and gas retailers, and distributors as well as those who are exempt from holding an electricity licence such as embedded electricity network sellers and suppliers.

The changes will take effect from early 2020

For electricity distribution businesses and exempt persons, transitional arrangements will commence from 2 January 2020. The full framework for electricity businesses coming into effect from 3 February 2020.

For gas businesses, the transitional arrangements will commence on 3 February 2020. The full framework for gas businesses coming into effect on 1 July 2020.

How we engaged

The commission proposed a number of amendments to the Energy Retail Code, Electricity Distribution Code and Gas Distribution System Code through the draft decision released in August 2019.

Consultation on the proposed amendments occurred throughout August and September via face-to-face meetings, a public forum and Engage Victoria. The public was able to provide written submissions or respond to a short survey on this page.

What we did with your feedback

We received 16 written submissions on the draft decision. These submissions can be found on our website. Overwhelmingly, stakeholders supported our draft decision to strengthen protections for life support customers and largely align with the National Energy Retail Rules.

An overview of stakeholder feedback is given in section 2 of the final decision and specific feedback is given throughout section 3 of the final decision.

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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.