Description of Conduct

On 17 April 2020, the Australian Energy Council (AEC) lodged an application for authorisation on behalf of itself, its member energy retailers, and other energy retailers in Australia. The AEC seeks authorisation to enable its members, and other energy retailers notified to the ACCC, to share information, discuss and in due course enter into and/or give effect to any contract, arrangement or understanding between them, or engage in any conduct, which has the purpose of providing financial and/or other relief to retail energy customers facing financial difficulties as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, including residential customers and business customers of any size. 

The AEC seeks authorisation for 12 months from the date of the ACCC’s final determination.

On 1 May 2020, the ACCC granted interim authorisation subject to conditions, including that any agreements between energy retailers are not materially inconsistent with the relevant applicable principles in the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) Statement of Expectations; and that the AEC report regularly report to the ACCC/AER about the information shared and the decisions made by retailers as part of the authorisation.

On 24 July 2020 AEC amended the proposed conduct in its application for authorisation to reflect the changed circumstances since the Application was lodged and interim authorisation was granted.

On 5 August 2020 the ACCC issued a draft determination proposing to grant conditional authorisation until 30 June 2021. Coinciding with the release of the draft determination, the ACCC revoked the 1 May 2020 interim authorisation and issued a new interim authorisation permitting the narrowed range of conduct that AEC proposed on 24 July 2020.

On 2 September 2020, the ACCC granted conditional authorisation until 30 June 2021. The final determination can be found below.

If no application for review of the determination is made to the Australian Competition Tribunal, the authorisation will come into force on 24 September 2020.

Further information on the application for authorisation and the ACCC’s decision is available through the link below.

An indicative timeline is set out below for your information.

17 April 2020

Lodgement of application, including request for interim authorisation

1 May 2020

Interim authorisation decision

1 May 2020

Public consultation process begins

22 May 2020

Closing date for submissions on the substantive application for authorisation from interested parties

4 August 2020

Draft determination

5 August 2020

Public consultation on draft determination including conference if called begins

2 September 2020

Final determination

24 September 2020

Authorisation comes into effect


  • Australian Energy Council Limited

Authorisation number(s)

  • AA1000502-1

Submissions - after draft decision

Document title Date
Essential Services Commission