The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has initiated legal proceedings against Origin Energy subsidiaries. 

The legal action implicates the companies Origin Energy Electricity Limited, Origin Energy Retail Limited, and Origin Energy LPG Limited. 

The proceedings follow admissions from Origin regarding failures to comply with life support obligations under the National Energy Retail Law and the National Energy Retail Rules (the Retail Rules).

The AER has charged Origin with breaching the Retail Rules on over 5,000 occasions. These breaches include:

  • Failing to register customers who required life support equipment after being informed by the customer or the relevant distributor

  • Neglecting to inform the relevant distributor that certain customers' premises required life support equipment

  • Not providing customers with information packs outlining their protections and assistance

  • Improperly deregistering premises where life support equipment was needed without following required steps to verify necessity, leading to some disconnections

As a result, some customers were left unregistered and without the protections provided by the life support provisions for up to 188 days. Others experienced disconnections and were without power for periods ranging from one to 66 days. Fortunately, no loss of life was reported due to these breaches.

These violations occurred between 1 February 2019 and 12 September 2022, affecting over 5,000 customers across Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia, and the Australian Capital Territory.

Some of the breaches involved third-party agents engaged by Origin to help comply with life support obligations. Origin admitted it failed to establish necessary policies, systems, and procedures to monitor compliance effectively.

In addition to the court proceedings, the AER has accepted a court-enforceable undertaking from Origin. This includes an admission of an additional 1,973 breaches related to the provision of information packs to life support customers. 

Origin has also committed to making a $1 million contribution to community organisations that assist individuals who rely on life support equipment.