The Commission has commenced a review of the Consumer Protection Code, an industry code that is applicable to energy and water utilities in the ACT. A copy of the current code can be found here https://legislation.act.gov.au/di/2012-149/. The code outlines the basic rights of customers, consumers and utilities with respect to access to, and provision of, utility services. The Code also deals with the general conduct of utilities (and their agents) in the delivery of utility services.
Context and objectives of the review
The purpose of the review is to ensure the ACT’s Consumer Protection Code remains appropriate, taking into account current and emerging utility consumer protection issues. The Commission will balance a number of considerations, including ensuring consumer protections are adequate, minimising regulatory compliance burden, and customers’ willingness to pay for any increased protections. In undertaking the review, the Commission will be guided by its objectives under the Utilities Act, of particular relevance:
- to encourage the provision of safe, reliable, efficient and high quality utility services at reasonable prices;
- to minimise the potential for misuse of monopoly power in the provision of utility services;
- to promote competition in the provision of utility services;
- to protect the interests of consumers; and
- to ensure that advice given to ICRC by the ACAT is properly considered.
The specific objectives of this review and Code redraft are to ensure that:
- consumer protections (including minimum service standards) are appropriate, meaningful and support the objectives of the Utilities Act 2000;
- where possible and appropriate, the Code complements the National Electricity Customer Framework;
- the Code is accessible and easy to understand by all stakeholders; and
- proposed Code changes do not discourage retail energy competition in the ACT.
Timing and process.
The Commission will be releasing an issues paper in the coming months, followed by a draft new Code. Community and stakeholders will have a formal opportunity to comment on both the issues paper and the redrafted Code.
The Commission welcomes both formal and informal input from community, consumers and stakeholders in developing our issues paper. If you would like to provide comments on potential issues or priorities for the review prior to the release of our issues paper, please contact the project manager Cath Collins, e: firstname.lastname@example.org ph: 02 6205 7999