One of the Commission’s functions is the investigation of complaints against licensed market participants under Division 8 of the Electricity Reform Act.

The Electricity Reform Act provides the following grounds of complaint against an electricity entity:

  • the electricity entity is engaging in conduct that is contrary to one (or more) of its licence conditions; or
  • the electricity entity is engaging in conduct that is contrary to the objects of this Act or the Utilities Commission Act.

A person may only make a complaint if that person:

  • is, or may be, adversely affected by the conduct or non-compliance alleged by the person; and
  • is a contestable customer or an electricity entity.

If you meet these requirements, and feel that you have a valid ground of complaint, you can lodge a complaint with the Commission, which:

  • should be in writing;
  • contains details of the grounds of the complaint; and
  • includes sufficient details to show
    • how the complainant is, or may be, adversely affected by the alleged conduct or noncompliance; and
    • how the complainant has made a genuine, but unsuccessful, attempt to resolve the subject matter of the complaint.

The Commission will investigate the complaint, unless it reasonably believes that the:

  • complainant is not, or is unlikely to be, adversely affected by the conduct or noncompliance alleged in the complaint;
  • complainant has not shown he or she has made a genuine attempt to resolve the subject of the complaint with the electricity entity; or
  • complaint is frivolous or vexatious.

It is the Commission’s view that formal complaint mechanisms should only be used where informal methods of dispute resolution have failed. The Commission stands ready to assist any party with a complaint against a market participant on an informal basis.

Arbitration under the Network Access Code 

If there is an access dispute in relation to access to electricity infrastructure provided by the network provider (currently Power and Water Corporation) under the Network Access Code, an arbitrator may be appointed for the purpose of resolving the dispute. The Network Access Code is a Schedule to the Electricity Network (Third Party Access) Act. For more information, see Negotiation of Network Access.

Clause 36 of the Network Access Code states that an access applicant with respect to an access application or a network user with respect to an access agreement or award may, by written notice given to the regulator, request the regulator to refer an access dispute to arbitration. To view the Network Access Code, see Legislation.

With respect to access disputes between the network provider and third parties, the Commission maintains a list of qualified arbitrators. However, the Commission has and intends to continue to use its good offices and connection with market participants to facilitate access to infrastructure on reasonable terms.