The Electricity Authority (EA) has announced it will implement mandatory updates to its Consumer Care Guidelines from 1 January 2025. In this article we discuss how the guidelines will be strengthened and what you need to do to prepare for the changes.

The Electricity Authority (EA) is responsible for fostering fair and effective relationships between domestic electricity retailers and consumers and protecting the interests of consumers in relation to the supply of electricity. Following a review in 2023, which found variable compliance by retailers with the EA’s Consumer Care Guidelines (Guidelines), the EA has decided to update the Guidelines and make them mandatory.  

The updated Guidelines will be mandatory from 1 January 2025. 

The Consumer Care Guidelines

The Guidelines were implemented by the EA in 2021 to replace previous guidelines, which related to protecting vulnerable and medically dependent consumers.

The Guidelines apply to electricity retailers and to electricity distributors who directly invoice their customers. They contain minimum standards for retailers’ dealings with consumers, including processes for:

  • Signing up
  • Supporting customers who are having difficulty paying bills
  • Disconnection
  • Protecting medically dependant customers.

Strengthening and mandating the Guidelines 

On 1 February 2024, the EA released its decision to mandate the whole of the Guidelines except Part 10 (Information disclosure and monitoring) through the Electricity Industry Participation Code (Code). 

The EA also decided to revise the Guidelines to address workability and enforcement issues raised in submissions. These updates, which have not been drafted yet, will be aimed at enhancing consumer protections, improving clarity, reducing ambiguity, and addressing undue compliance costs and inefficiencies. Appendix B of the decision paper includes a list of issues raised by submitters. 

Next steps

The EA has outlined the following steps to achieve full implementation of the mandated Guidelines by 1 January 2025.

Initially, the EA will conduct detailed analysis of the Guidelines to identify the areas for improvement. 

The EA will engage with industry participants from March 2024 to work on addressing the issues raised during the 2023 consultation. 

After engaging with stakeholders, the EA will begin drafting the updates to the Guidelines and an amendment to the Code to mandate them. The EA expects to complete drafting of the updated Guidelines, and a cost-benefit analysis of the proposed amendments by August 2024.

The EA will consult on the updated Guidelines and the cost-benefit analysis in the second half of 2024.

The EA is working on establishing more effective retail monitoring and enforcing mechanisms separately.[1] 

How to prepare for mandated Guidelines

The EA recognises that implementing the updated Guidelines by the beginning of 2025 is an ambitious target. To achieve this deadline, timely engagement with the EA is crucial. Electricity retailers should stay on top of deadlines and developments in this space to ensure that they can provide input on the updated Guidelines.

Retailers should also review their consumer-facing practices and policies against the updated Guidelines and consider whether these will need to change in time for 1 January 2025.  

Depending on how the Guidelines change, there may also need to be changes to the way retailers and distributors work with each other, including changes to the default distributor agreements in the Code.

Get in touch

Simpson Grierson will be monitoring developments in this space. If you would like to learn more about anything discussed in this article, how it could affect you or assistance in preparing a submission, please get in touch with one of our experts.

Special thanks to Michael Carston for his assistance in writing this article.


[1] The EA is currently consulting on improving retail market monitoring (closing 29 February) and improving consumer choice (closing 8 March).


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