The National Energy Customer Framework (NECF) commenced on 1 July 2012, bringing in a new set of national laws, rules, and regulations governing the retail sale and distribution of energy to consumers.
The NECF is designed to provide a single, simplified, national regulatory regime intended to deliver efficiencies in terms of regulatory certainty, reduced compliance costs, and competitive benefits to consumers. The NECF does not cover technical regulation of energy suppliers.
The framework primarily deals with the following matters:
- the retailer-customer relationship and associated rights, obligations and energy specific consumer protection measures;
- distributor interactions with customers and retailers, and associated rights, obligations and consumer protection measures;
- national retailer authorisations; and
- compliance monitoring and reporting, enforcement and performance reporting.
Under the NECF, the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has responsibility for regulating energy retailers, and also administers an energy price comparison service for contestable customers www.energymadeeasy.gov.au.