The National Energy Customer Framework (NECF) forms the final piece of the broader national energy reforms set out in the Australian Energy Market Agreement. It's a national framework for the retail sale of electricity and gas to residential and small business energy customers.
With the exception of Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Victoria, it has been progressively implemented through the transfer of state and territory legislation with a transition to a single set of national Laws, Regulations and Rules. The NECF seeks to benefit all residential and some small business energy customers, energy distributors and energy retailers.
The NECF commenced in the ACT and Tasmania on 1 July 2012, in South Australia on 1 February 2013, in NSW on 1 July 2013 and in Queensland on 1 July 2015.
The NECF facilitates retail competition by reducing regulatory complexity and lowering barriers for energy retailers to enter into the market across participating states and territories. It encourages residential and small business customer participation in a competitive market by providing strong and equitable customer protections.
The NECF has been developed in recognition that energy is an essential service for all Australians and provides strong national protections. It operates in a complementary way with general consumer protection laws that apply in the energy sectors at both state and Commonwealth level, including privacy laws and the Australian Consumer Law.
State and territory energy laws supplement key customer protection aspects of the NECF through measures such as energy ombudsman and guaranteed service level schemes, and social policy initiatives such as community service obligations.
- all residential and some small business energy customers on commencement of the NECF in their state or territory
- energy distributors who are responsible for the physical delivery of energy to customers’ premises
- energy retailers responsible for the sale of energy to residential and small business energy customers in jurisdictions where the NECF has commenced.
The NECF is underpinned by the following key legal instruments:
- National Energy Retail Law (South Australia) Act 2011 (and application laws in each applying jurisdiction)
- National Energy Retail Regulations 2012
- National Energy Retail Rules
- National Electricity Rules
- National Gas Rules