QCOSS made a submission in March to the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy’s review of the National Energy Retail Law in Queensland. Our key message is that there are clear deficiencies in the National Energy Customer Framework (NECF), with evidence mounting that it is not working in the interests of consumers, and particularly for consumers experiencing financial hardship or vulnerability. This review is an opportunity to ensure that energy consumer protections are not reduced to the lowest common denominator in the interests of national consistency. Despite the move to a national framework, state governments have a responsibility to address gaps and barriers that are negatively impacting on consumer outcomes. It is critical that consumer protections are stronger, not weaker, as a result of this review.
QCOSS made 24 recommendations in this submission including that the Queensland government:
- Level the playing field between retailer and consumers
- Address inequities caused by digital barriers
- Ensure retailers act to improve their practices in supporting consumers experiencing hardship
- Ensure all consumers can access the protections they are entitled to
- Do no harm – prohibit products and services that risk leaving consumers worse off