ARE YOU BEING OVERCHARGED?
Electricity charges in land lease communities are a hot issue for home owners. Prices continue to rise and, when home owners purchase electricity from the operator, the charges are complex and difficult to understand. In this edition of Outasite Lite we will explore the laws, regulations and the charges.
Retail electricity prices were deregulated in New South Wales as of 1 July 2014. This promoted greater competition in the market and encouraged more retailers, which led to better electricity deals for customers. Unfortunately, for home owners in land lease communities access to the market is limited.
NATIONAL RETAIL LAW
Most home owners in land lease communities purchase electricity from the operator. Under the National Energy Retail Law, any person or business that sells energy to another person for use at premises must have either a retailer authorisation or a retail exemption. Operators of land lease communities have a retail exemption and are required to comply with the Retail Rules.
In New South Wales electricity customers (including home owners in land lease communities) have the right to purchase electricity from a retailer of their choice. However, those in land lease communities who want to change provider generally need to arrange and pay for a new meter to be installed. The cost of a new meter can be upwards of $400 so making the switch is not cheap. Home owners have to weigh up the cost of a new meter against the potential savings of purchasing cheaper electricity from a different provider.
LAND LEASE COMMUNITY LAW
The Residential (Land Lease) Communities Act 2013 (the Act) and Residential (Land Lease) Communities Regulation 2015 (the Regulation) govern when and how operators can charge home owners for electricity. If the site agreement requires the home owner to pay utility charges to the operator, the use must be separately measured or metered and the operator must provide an itemised account and give the home owner at least 21 days to pay.
There are two separate charges for electricity and they are calculated differently...
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