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Living in an embedded network

If you live in a residential complex, residential park or a retirement village you might be in an embedded network, which means the rules around your electricity and gas supply are different.

Embedded networks are private electricity networks which supply multiple homes or businesses. The operators of embedded networks, known as exempt entities, pay to receive energy from the grid and then on-sell the energy to you. In an embedded network, you are billed for electricity usage by the owner or manager, who is the exempt seller of the electricity.

Do I live in an embedded network?

When you move into an embedded network the exempt seller must provide you with written information about your rights as a customer. This includes the name and contact details of the exempt seller. These details must also appear on your energy bill.

If you’re not sure if you’re in an embedded network, contact the company billing you for your energy and ask it directly. You can also contact the manager of your residential complex, retirement village or residential park.

Photo of an apartment block

What’s different about living in an embedded network?

As an embedded network customer, you have many of the same rights that you would if you were using a traditional energy provider. These include:

  • The embedded network must be safe for you to use.
  • There must be clear procedures in place for you to make a complaint. All embedded network operators and exempt sellers that service residential customers in NSW must be members of EWON. This means you can contact us about any issue you have with the services they provide.
  • Fees/charges for network services are priced according to a guideline published by the Australian Energy Regulator.
  • Electricity meters must comply with certain standards depending on when the embedded network was established.

Can I switch to a retailer of my choice?

If you’re in an embedded network in NSW, you have a right to choose your own electricity retailer. Owners of embedded networks are not allowed to prevent or discourage you from changing retailers.

However, it may be difficult to find a retailer that is available to you. Changing can also be quite complicated. If you decide to change retailers:

  1. Find an authorised retailer that agrees to become your retailer and enter into a market contract. Authorised retailers have no obligation to become your retailer – you may have to shop around.
  2. The authorised retailer will ask the embedded network to ensure your meter is correctly recorded in the national energy market. This is so it can set up your account.
  3. Either you or the authorised retailer needs to inform the embedded network operator that you are changing to an authorised retailer.

Keep in mind:

  • Your embedded network cannot help you find an authorised retailer
  • Your current meter may need to be replaced to meet the required standard, and you may need to pay for this. If you are a tenant, you need to discuss this with your landlord, who may object to your request.
  • You will receive two bills. One from your retailer for your electricity usage, and one from your embedded network for network charges. You still have to pay the embedded network for network charges, regardless of who your energy retailer is.

Rebates

The NSW Government offers rebates to help with electricity and gas bills. You can check your eligibility and apply online. You’ll need to apply as an on-supply customer.

Making complaints

All embedded network operators and exempt sellers that service residential customers in NSW must be members of EWON. We can investigate issues, provided your electricity supply is individually metered.

Contact us if you'd like to make a complaint and learn more about what you can complain about.