Home News NETCC Council Meeting - December 2023

NETCC Council Meeting - December 2023

Published on - 22 Mar 2024

This is a summary of the NETCC Council meeting held on 14 December 2023. Communiques of each meeting are produced so that stakeholders can be informed about the work of the Council and its implementation of the Code.

Code coverage

The Chair welcomed Paul Corkill, Executive Director – Policy, Programs & Industry Development, Solar Victoria.

Paul provided an overview of customer insights following the significant increase in take-up by customers of heat pumps under the Solar Homes program.

Council discussed whether heat pumps should be covered by the Code, including:

  • While heat pump technology is not ‘new energy tech’ as such, it may be new for mass consumer intake. New energy tech outlined in the NETCC includes tech linked to/partnered with energy generation technology.
  • The Code was written to be open ended, so could incorporate heat pumps.
  • Implementation of heat pump inclusion in the Code would require consultation and discussion.
  • Council agreed to obtain further information about the NETCC scope expansion to include heat pump for discussion in early 2024.

NETCC program update

The Administrator presented the Program Performance Report, including:

  • The number of applications for Code Signatory status has been higher than forecast.
  • There are significantly more new applications from Victoria based retailers driven by Solar Victoria’s mandate for the Solar Homes Program.
  • Some Code Signatories were not aware of the NETCC renewal notice which led to automatic resignation, with 23% subsequently reapplying. The Administrator has taken action to add secondary contact and to implement follow up calls.

Complaints about new energy tech

Council met with Catherine Wolthuizen, Energy & Water Ombudsman Victoria, regarding complaints about new energy tech. The Ombudsman advised that complaints and compliance matters have been received by her office within and outside of existing jurisdiction. She asked the Administrator and Council to consider increased consumer access to External Dispute Resolution (ie Ombudsman offices) through the NETCC.

Following discussion, the Chair thanked the Ombudsman for her presentation and advised that any potential changes to the Code, including dispute resolution, would be considered as part of the NETCC reauthorisation process.

Code administration

The Administrator advised of NETCC priorities:

  • Retention and journey of existing Approved Sellers.
  • Stakeholder engagement.
  • Consideration of Hot Water Heat Pumps for NETCC; Fee Review; ACCC Code reauthorisation, with industry consultation in March / April 2024.
  • In consultation with the NETCC Code Monitoring and Compliance Panel (the Panel) an audit framework for the Administrator and for Approved Sellers is being developed.

Virtual Power Plant (VPP)

Council discussed a case example of a poor consumer experience with a Virtual Power Plant (VPP). Consumer complaints relate to VPP sales practices regarding time/benefit of when the battery would be charged. It was suggested that NETCC should develop a consumer guide in relation to VPP, in line with consumer guides for other technology types. This could provide guidance around clarity of communication and consumer remediation important for any technology that can be adjustable (such as the amount of power being stored, generated, or used).

Council was advised that some retailers use offshore call centres and third-party referral arrangements to get around Do Not Call lists. It was suggested that the Administrator should provide clarification for NETCC on the Do Not Call list.

Next meeting

The next meeting of Council in early 2024 will be a joint meeting with the Panel to discuss ACCC reauthorisation of the Code and other relevant matters.