The National Energy Customer Framework (NECF), was introduced to Queensland on 1 July 2015.

NECF is a set of national laws, rules and regulations governing the sale and supply of energy (electricity and reticulated natural gas) to consumers.

It was developed under cooperative arrangements between Queensland, the Australian Government, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, Western Australia, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory and works by each participating state applying the framework as a law of its jurisdiction.

NECF aims to reduce regulatory red tape for the electricity industry, drive greater efficiencies and foster increased competition in the retail market.

Under NECF, retailers will only have to comply with a single set of energy laws, rather than a different set of laws for each state they operate in. The potential introduction of a national licensing regime and a national regulator—the Australian Energy Regulator (AER)—will reduce red tape and costs, and promote competition by making it easier for retailers to operate across National Energy Market borders.

Residential consumers and small customers won't notice a difference in the way their electricity is supplied, but NECF will boost customer protections by requiring retailers to more actively identify, and offer assistance to, customers finding it difficult to pay their bill on time.

Under NECF, a small customer includes anyone who uses less than 100MW (electricity) or 1TJ (gas) per year.

Queensland energy consumers have access to the following benefits under the National Energy Customer Framework:

  • Retailers must develop hardship policies aimed at helping consumers to manage their bills on an ongoing basis if they are experiencing financial difficulty due to hardship.

  • Retailers must tell consumers about concessions and rebates when issuing disconnection warnings.

  • Retailers must tell new consumers about flexible payment options at the time they sign up, such as pay in advance.

  • Retailers offering market contracts must offer at least one contract with no exit fees. All other market contract exit fees must be capped at $20.

  • Retailers can no longer charge electricity consumers up front for meter tests.

  • Consumers on market contracts must get 10 business days’ notice of price increases and 20 business days’ notice of the expiry of benefits such as price discounts.

  • Consumers on standard retail contracts can ask to make regular, advanced payments on their bills to reduce the impact of seasonal energy use and to make bills more predictable.

  • Distributors can no longer ask consumer for security deposits.

  • Retailers must hold and respect Do Not Contact lists and must comply with Do Not Knock Signs.

  • Notice periods for planned interruptions to supply have been extended.

​For more information about NECF visit the Energy and Water Ombudsman Queensland website.

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