Every person in Queensland deserves the same level of reliability and quality from their energy services. However, people in regional areas, who pay the same network charges, experience much longer and more frequent power outages before they receive a Guaranteed Service Levels (GSLs) payment.
GSLs determine when and how much an electricity customer will receive if the network service is not meeting expectations.
This was one of QCOSS’ key recommendations in our submission to Review of Guaranteed Service Levels to apply to Energex and Ergon from July 2020. Alternatively, QCOSS suggested that if the network for regional areas cannot be as reliable as other areas of Queensland, network charges should be reduced in line with a lower service expectation.
The Queensland Competition Authority (QCA) did not accept this recommendation. However, they did agree that customers with Card Operated Meters must have the same window of opportunity to apply for a GSL payment, giving them three months after an eligible event (an outage or other breach) to apply.
Eligible customers automatically receive GSL payments, mostly by cheque, which QCOSS argued was no longer an appropriate method. QCOSS also recommended electricity retailers should have GSLs to cover events where the retailer was at fault for the network service breach. For example, where they did not inform the network business of a life support customer before a planned outage, or provided incorrect property details to the network business for a disconnection or new meter installation service.
The QCA did not make these changes but agreed that some of these proposed improvements may come into force in Queensland under National Energy Retail Law changes.
Throughout the submission, QCOSS argued GSLs need to have clearer purpose, as well as calling for fairer criteria for eligibility. We also requested an increase in transparency, equity and consumer awareness of GSLs.
QCOSS will continue to call for changes to make energy fairer for all people in Queensland, regardless of their geographical location. We have made three different submissions towards this process. The first was in April 2018, the second supplementary response was submitted in June 2018. The third and final submission was made in December 2018.
Read the full December 2018 submission.
Read the first submission (April 2018).