Australian regulatory and compliance changes – July forward look

Every month our industry experts pull together a comprehensive update for our clients on the key changes in the regulatory and compliance landscape for Australian energy retailers.

Here Sue Richardson, our Australian energy market regulatory specialist, gives a quick overview of the major national energy market reforms you should to be aware of and what they mean for your business.

At Agility navigating the implications of regulatory and compliance changes is key to ensuring our billing and customer care solutions remain robust, relevant and accurate, today and tomorrow. This is core to our value proposition.

COVID-19 has impacted every part of our day-to-day lives, and will continue to have major implications for the Australian energy market and customers for some time to come. Regulatory and compliance changes are being affected too with a number of planned major reforms delayed at present.

To help you stay ahead of what’s happening when, here’s a quick summary of the current state of play for key national energy market reforms being introduced over the next 6 – 18 months. If you want to learn more about these reforms or about changes at a state level, then our Professional Services team will be happy to help.

How we help clients navigate change at Agility

With more than 100 years of combined energy industry experience across the Professional Services team, Agility has a long history of working with our clients to navigate change. We partner with our clients on ‘development streams’, building out new functionality or configurations that enable robust and efficient responses to changing demands. This helps our clients reduce resources, automate key processes and lower their cost-to-serve.

We also offer professional consultancy services to help clients stay abreast of market changes and understand how they might optimise their response to these changes. Our Professional Services team provide process audits, critical workflow analysis, training and project management – all helping to ensure our clients remain compliant and competitive.

Australian Energy Market Forward Look July 2020

Forward look

5 Minute Settlement (5MS) & Global Settlement (GS)

The 5MS initiative was due to be introduced by July 2021, with participant trials planned to happen at the end of 2020.

Earlier this week the AEMC published the response to the consultation, delaying the introduction until 1 Oct 2021. They have also delayed the Global Settlement ‘soft start’ until 1 Oct 2021 too. These postponements are to ensure that retailers can manage the wider requirements and implications of COVID-19 on their end customers.

Timetable For 5MS And GS

Source: AEMC

Customer transfer in the NEM

The Customer Transfers ruling is being introduced so that customers can transfer between retail providers within two days, irrespective of meter type.

The final determination was published in March 2020, and the final determination on a minor amendment was published on 3 July 2020.  The effective date is yet to be determined, but AEMO has said that at least 8 months prior notice will be given.

MSATS Standing Data Review

AEMO have launched a review of NMI Standing Data. This is to respond to the changing nature of the industry, and ensure data is standardised, complete, accurate and useful. Ultimately this aims to help enable market participants to provide improved outcomes for electricity consumers.

A consultation was launched earlier this year to examine the validity of data fields in Market Settlement and Transfer Solutions (MSATS) and the changes that need to be made in light of the current environment and in preparation for upcoming changes like 5MS.

The consultation is now at the second draft stage with an industry workshop scheduled for Friday 17 July 2020. The final report is due to be published on Monday 7 September 2020, and this should set out the effective date.

Digital Certificate Replacement

Most market participants communicate with AEMO’s systems and each other using secure certificates. This is called MTLS (Mutual TLS Authentication). These secure certificates allow applications to trust communications between parties that participate in Australia’s Energy Market.

These certificates, held by both AEMO and market participants, are due to expire on the 25 December 2020, and must be refreshed.  Anyone without new certificates after 25 December will not be able to communicate with AEMO’s systems.

AEMO will be replacing all impacted certificates from June to November.  Impacted market participants will need to use these new certificates prior to 25 December.

Gas life support

AEMO has determined that Gas Life Support B2B transactions may be introduced in Q4 2021.  Therefore members of the AEMO GRCF (Gas Retail Consultative Forum) have agreed that a consistent method to keep all parties up to date with customer gas life support information is warranted.

The Gas Life Support Industry Guide has now been published.  This is not an AEMO document, it is a guide only and it is not mandatory to follow it. It will be in place until the Gas Life Support new B2B transactions are operational.

B2B procedure updates (Electricity)

AEMO have proposed amendments to B2B Procedures to improve the functionality of existing B2B transactions and to incorporate routine communication between electricity retail market participants into B2B transactions.

The current proposed effective date for B2B v3.4 is set as 1 July 2021, and Nov 2021 for v3.5. This will be confirmed when the full consultation response is published.