The NETCC is about to be made mandatory across Australia, starting in Victoria & Tasmania. We must stop it. Send an email right now.
This week the Victorian and Tasmanian Energy Ministers will decide if the voluntary ACCC New Energy Tech Consumer Code (NETCC) will become mandatory for all solar retailers in their respective states.
Together we can stop this but only if you act TODAY.
Click on the links below and send a strong message that our industry does not want another CEC (Clean Energy Council) monopoly imposed on it for another decade.
We have made it super easy for you to send an email. Click on the link below, edit the text as you see fit, or send it as it is. Just do it right now.
These two states are first. The rest of Australia will follow if we do not stop it now.
SUBJECT: Objection to NETCC Code Becoming Mandatory in Victoria
I object to the Victorian Government making the NETCC a mandatory code for participants in the Solar Victoria program.
Any code must be inclusive of the entire industry, fair, and transparent. It must make sure, through competition, that the service delivery is high, and the fees are as low as possible.
The NETCC fails this test.
Because the CEC has been appointed as the exclusive code administrators for a period of 10 years, this is a monopoly code, administered in a monopoly way, with no competition around service delivery or the setting of fees, and that is unacceptable.
The industry is already seeing the impact, with annual NETCC code fees up to $6,000 a year, and massive cost increases of up to 300% for many others.
That means many businesses will be charged up to $30,000 over the next five years for a code that is not fit for purpose and does not have the support of the industry.
The cumulative (and arbitrary) cost of the code will amount to many millions of dollars. A cost that will be passed onto Victorian consumers.
My objection is not just to the significant costs dealt by a monopoly code, but the lack of accountability and service delivery our industry needs.
If this proceeds, I will strongly and actively oppose it and will actively encourage others to oppose it too.
Everyone wants the best protection for consumers. That is why the Smart Energy Council worked hard with others for almost three years to create a better consumer protection framework.
But any industry-wide code of conduct must:
- Offer additional protections beyond what currently exists
- Be delivered in an open, transparent, and contestable way
- Represent and reflect the entire industry, not segments of it
The NETCC fails all three of these tests.
CER retailer protections already strong
In April 2022 the Clean Energy Regulator (CER) introduced strong penalties for retailers doing the wrong thing. Fines of up to $1.2m for companies. Bloody strong protections. And they have an investigation team tracking down wrongdoers.
The CER is acting and their powers go way beyond the NETCC.
Be delivered in a contestable way
The NETCC has appointed the CEC as the exclusive code administrator for a period of 10 years.
That means another CEC monopoly over the solar industry.
No need to deliver good service – nobody else is allowed to compete.
No need to justify fees, or bring costs down – nobody else is allowed to compete.
Solar retailers just have to lump it. Massive fee hikes, no worries. Don’t pay, don’t work in Victoria or Tasmania.
Retailers are receiving bills right now for up to $6,000 a year. Many more have bills over $3,000. The self-appointed code policeman making sure you pay, big time.
The code administrator must be contestable. Have a tender process periodically. Choose the provider with the best customer service and lowest fees.
That is the real world the rest of us work in.
MONOPOLY TO DOMINOES...
We know the Tasmanian Government are looking to Victoria in applying the NETCC code to businesses in their jurisdiction.
Please join us in calling for the Tasmanian Minister for Energy and Renewables to avoid following Victoria down this senseless path.
Huge excess costs to the solar industry
If we fail it will cost the industry up to $15 million over 5 years in Victoria alone.
If adopted Australia-wide, it could cost solar consumers a whopping $75 million.
No added benefit
While the CER has the powers and funding to remove any non-compliant actor in the solar supply chain, enforce 3 year suspensions, the NETCC is charging $15 million over 5 years in Victoria alone to “require assessments of sales staff” in the case of a breach.
While the CER can penalise an actor from an omission of information, the NETCC will take serious action after 4 breaches, when its already too late for many families.
While the CER enforces all breaches of obligations the NETCC administrator may choose to ignore breaches of the code when they are notified.
While the CER actively seeks out breaches, the NETCC only waits for consumers, who know enough about Solar to make their own compliant.
The point of consumer protection is to play an active role, not hope that consumers will know when they have being played.
Represent the entire industry
To be useful any code must have the support of the entire industry. Not just those who profit from it. When the SEC objected to a 10-year no-competition lock-in for the CEC, the NETCC board endorsed it.
At that point, the SEC was out. That means a huge block of the industry was also out. Particularly those in the new and emerging distributed energy resources and services industry division, an area the NETCC claims to have expanded into.
Three strikes and you are out.
That is why we are fighting so hard to stop this injustice proceeding.
But we cannot do it alone. We need your urgent help today. Click on these links to show your opposition:
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