Back to the future – making Queensland’s energy legislation serve consumer needs

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Every Queenslander deserves reliable and affordable energy to stay cool, and care for their families. The Queensland Government is currently reviewing energy legislation, and you can have your say. 

While energy is an essential service, it is difficult to navigate, with the onus increasingly being on consumers to understand, navigate and engage, or run the risk of paying more. 

Following a previous consultation (see our submission here), the state government has proposed a new framework to improve access to the Energy and Water Ombudsman Queensland (EWOQ) and accommodate new decentralised technologies or drivers into the mix – such as new technological innovations, or factors influenced by climate change – while ensuring equity and affordability through consumer protection mechanisms. 

Current Queensland laws have conflicts and duplication with national laws and objectives. Some households miss out on opportunities from new technologies, and others miss out on consumer protections. Without clear analysis, any changes present both potential risks and opportunities to vulnerable consumers. 

In particular, current legislation means some customers are treated differently. Under the new framework, there may be opportunities for more households to access dispute resolution through EWOQ, or to access concessions. The review will consider the fee structures and legislative power of EWOQ to determine what consumer issues and stakeholders it should cover.  

The proposals aim to release the sector from past regulatory structures allowing the greater uptake of distributed energy resources (DER), including offering regional Queenslanders more choice, expanding the regional feed-in tariff to include batteries, and the potential for all Queenslanders to aggregate stored energy for sale.  

The framework being proposed aims to: 

  • be flexible to support and adapt to a diverse and evolving industry 
  • have clear rules for operators and regulators, and;  
  • better align with applied national laws.

QCOSS would like to hear your views – especially the experiences of people supplied by embedded networks, such as people who live in apartment complexes, caravan parks, or community housing providers with an embedded network. To have a chat with us, please contact QCOSS Senior Policy Officer Luke Reade.

Stakeholders are invited to provide feedback to the Queensland Government by 31 January 2020 at the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy website. 

3 December 2019 |Focus area: ,