Submission: Review of the AER exemptions framework for embedded networks

29 February 2024

ACTCOSS provided a submission to the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) review of the exemptions framework for embedded networks (ENs). We highlighted that energy must be regarded as an essential service. For exemptions to be granted, developers and/or Owners Corporations (OC) should have to demonstrate that their proposed EN will provide material benefit to consumers. The focus of the AER’s review should be on ensuring that consumer protections for EN customers match those of non-EN customers. We emphasised that most reviews already undertaken in this area present many potential benefits, but in few other policy areas are decisions made based on potential benefits in the face of real harms. Based on the ACT review and feedback from ACTCOSS’ members, there is no evidence that any of the purported benefits regularly materialise for consumers. In contrast, there is a long list of documented risks and harms arising from ENs under the current framework, and ACTCOSS considers that the risks outweigh the potential benefits. In fact, most consumers surveyed in the ACT review indicated they had experienced harms from residing in an EN, with low-income and marginalised households reporting a disproportionate burden of harm. We recommended that future exemptions be granted on a case-by-case basis. The number of ENs should be reduced and only allowed if there is evidence of genuine consumer benefit. Overall, the same consumer protections that are available to on-market customers should apply and be granted to EN customers.


Review of the AER exemptions framework for embedded networks (pdf)
Review of the AER exemptions framework for embedded networks (docx)
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