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Statement from the NETCC Council

Published on - 12 Apr 2023

The New Energy Tech Consumer Code (NETCC) Council provides this statement in response to recent Smart Energy Council (SEC) comments regarding the NETCC program.

The NETCC Council comprises a number of peak industry bodies and consumer groups, including the Australian Energy Council, the Clean Energy Council, the Consumer Action Law Centre, Energy Consumers Australia, Energy Networks Australia, the Public Interest Advocacy Centre and Renew. Up until the resignation of its representatives on 4 July 2022, the SEC was one of the bodies appointed to the Council as an industry representative.

The CEC was appointed Administrator after an open application process. The CEC was the only applicant.

It is the NETCC Council’s view that the SEC’s concerns have been mitigated by the lengthy and thorough process undertaken in the appointment of the CEC. The SEC’s criticism of the NETCC program is unfounded and regrettable. The SEC made a significant contribution and played a key role in the development of the Code. The NETCC Council would welcome future constructive engagement from the SEC in recognition that continued collaboration can only produce better outcomes for both industry and consumers. As a member of the NETCC Council the SEC would represent its constituents’ interests in the ongoing operation and development of the Code.

Arguing against the NETCC only advocates for dodgy retailers to take advantage of consumers.

By better defining existing consumer rights, showing how they apply to new energy tech and extending the pre-existing requirements of the Australian Consumer Law, the NETCC program not only assists in lifting industry standards, but creating better-informed, better-protected consumers that have the confidence to invest in the Australian new energy tech sector.

This decision has been made as the NETCC covers a range of new energy tech, some of which are supported by STCs and rebates, some of which are not.

An effective and well-administered voluntary code must contain vital aspects such as application and accreditation processes and procedures, a complaints handling procedure, appeals structures and reporting mechanisms. These key aspects require time and resources for comprehensive development, and accordingly, the Administrator is entitled to recover its reasonable costs as reflected in the NETCC.

In its capacity as Administrator, the CEC is closely monitoring the distribution of annual fees. To date, 80% of Approved Sellers have paid the minimum annual fee ($800), while only 3% of retailers have paid the maximum annual fee ($10,000).

The NETCC Council wishes to reiterate that Council members have adopted a collective and collaborative approach in ensuring that the NETCC program embodies a widely supported, industry-led approach to raising consumer protection standards in the Australian clean energy sector.

The NETCC Council looks forward to continuing to work with new energy tech industries to raise standards and increase consumer confidence to participate in transforming the Australian energy sector.

For further enquiries, please contact the Council via email: [email protected].

More information on the NETCC program can be found at www.newenergytech.org.au.

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The NETCC Council