The increased uptake of behind the meter products means they are now part of everyday complaints about energy services. We are also seeing the integration of new technologies and energy business models, with embedded network customers wanting to access the benefits of rooftop solar systems. This means that many of the market rules and consumer protections that energy consumers rely on no longer work. The following case study highlights how energy retailers are adapting to consumer demand to provide off-market customers with the same access to behind-the-meter products as on-market customers. We also provide a case study that illustrates how new technologies are fast replacing a customer’s reliance on traditional energy bills. 

Solar credits delayed for embedded network customer  

A customer living in an embedded network was being on-sold electricity by an authorised energy retailer. The customer had submitted a ‘change supply request’ form to his retailer after installing a rooftop solar system but contacted EWON because he had not received a response for over two months. The customer wanted to start receiving credits on his bill for the energy generated by his solar system and exported to the embedded network. He also wanted his solar credits to be backdated to the day he lodged his request with the retailer. 

EWON contacted the retailer for information about the status of the customer’s request. The retailer said to enable an embedded network customer to receive credits for the solar energy exported to the grid, only the electricity meter at the parent connection point needed to be reconfigured. The retailer noted that off-market embedded network customers do not receive itemised solar credits in the same ways as on-market customers with a standard connection. Instead, embedded network customers will see the credits as a ‘miscellaneous adjustment’. 

In this case, the meter at the parent connection point for the embedded network was configured for solar energy export on the same day that the customer submitted the request. However, the solar credits were not being applied to the customer’s bills. 

The retailer investigated and identified that the connection application submitted by the solar installer was incomplete as it did not provide information on the accumulative generation capacity of the embedded network (or the total number of rooftop solar systems exporting from the embedded network). The retailer contacted the solar installer and advised it to submit the application again. After the re-application was completed, the retailer offered to waive the metering fee of $49.50 and to provide the customer with a credit of $150 in recognition of the delay. The customer accepted this outcome as resolution of the complaint. 

Inconsistencies between inverter and retailer data

A customer upgraded the rooftop solar installation on his home and purchased a new inverter to monitor his electricity generation and usage. He also downloaded his energy retailer’s mobile app to access data from his digital meter. The customer monitored his electricity usage, generation, and export data daily and noted that the data obtained through the retailer’s app was delayed by a few days. The customer also complained that there was a difference between the data provided by the retailer and the data he obtained directly from the system. The customer had complained to the retailer about these issues and was told that a supervisor would call him back to discuss his complaint. 

EWON told the customer that he should allow the retailer time to respond to his complaint. The customer agreed to discuss his complaint with the retailer before escalating the complaint with us. 

The customer returned to EWON because he was not satisfied with the explanation provided by his retailer. He said some days there was almost 20kWh difference between the inverter data and the data provided through the retailer’s app and he did not consider the data on the retailer’s app to be reflective of his actual energy generation and usage. EWON referred the matter to the retailer for resolution at a higher level and advised the customer that he could return to EWON if an agreed outcome could not be reached.