Under the National Energy Customer Framework (NECF) the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) is responsible for regulating retail energy (electricity and gas) markets. Prior to July 2012 regulation of retail energy providers was undertaken by the Commission. Schedule 1 of the National Energy Retail Law (South Australia) Act 2011 is known as the National Energy Retail Law or NERL. The schedule is applied in the ACT by the National Energy Retail Law (ACT) Act 2012.
Under the National Energy Retail Law the AER has a number of regulatory functions including:
- authorising energy retailers to sell energy and granting authorisation exemptions;
- monitoring compliance and enforcing breaches of the NERL and its associated Rules (National Energy Retail Rules or NERR) and Regulations;
- approving retailers’ policies for dealing with customers facing hardship;
- providing an online energy price comparison service for small customers (see the energy price comparison website, Energy Made Easy);
- administering a national retailer of last resort scheme, which protects customers and the market if a retail business fails; and
- reporting on the performance of the market and participants, including on energy affordability, disconnections and competition indicators.