Market Retail Contract
Localvolts – Anyone can be an Energy Farmer
29 June 2021
LOCALVOLTS MARKET RETAIL CONTRACT
1. About this contract
1.1. This contract is between:
a. Localvolts Pty Ltd (ABN 12 609 840 379) who sells electricity to you at your premises (in this contract referred to as “we”, “our” or “us”) and, if applicable, purchases electricity from your generating system; and
b. You, the residential customer to whom this contract applies (in this contract referred to as “you” or “your”).
1.2. If more than one person is named as a customer on your account, each person named is individually responsible for meeting all the customer’s responsibilities under this contract.
1.3. This contract is about the sale of electricity to you as a residential customer at your premises, and our purchase of electricity from your generating system (if applicable). Energy laws and other consumer laws also contain rules about the sale and purchase of electricity and we will comply with these rules in our dealings with you.
1.4. This contract consists of these terms and conditions, and the electricity plan confirmation (which includes our “how it all works” explanatory document). To the extent of any inconsistency the electricity plan confirmation takes precedence over these terms and conditions.
1.5. You can find more information about how Localvolts works on our website at https://localvolts.com
1.6. These terms and conditions apply to you if:
a. you are a residential customer;
b. you request us to sell electricity to you at your premises; and
c. you give us your explicit informed consent to enter into a market retail contract with us.
1.7. Under this contract we agree to sell you electricity at your premises. We also agree to meet other obligations set out in this contract and to comply with the energy laws, including, where we sell you electricity, the provision, installation and maintenance of your meter. In return, you agree:
a. to be responsible for charges for electricity supplied to the premises until this contract ends under clause 2.5 even if you vacate the premises earlier;
b. to pay the amounts billed by us under this contract; and
c. to meet your obligations under this contract and the energy laws.
1.8. You also have a separate contract with your distributor, called a customer connection contract. The customer connection contract deals with the supply of electricity to your premises and can be found on your distributor’s website.
1.9. This contract does not cover the physical connection of your premises to the distribution system, including the maintenance of that connection and the supply of electricity to your premises. This is the role of your distributor under your separate customer connection contract with them.
Purchasing electricity from you
1.10. We will purchase exported electricity from your generating system if you:
a. have connected a generating system to the electricity grid, and in accordance with the distributor’s requirements;
b. have an electricity contract with us in respect of the supply address where your generating system is installed, through which we have become the financially responsible retailer;
c. have provided us with all relevant information and documentation regarding the generating system as we request; and
d. have a meter which records the flow of electricity from your generating system to the grid.
Contract start date and cooling off period
2.1. This contract starts on the date you accept our offer to supply electricity to you.
2.2. We will start supplying electricity to you:
a. once you satisfy any pre-conditions including those set out in the Rules. This includes giving us acceptable identification and payment details; and
b. when we become the financially responsible retailer for your premises.
2.3. You agree that we will transfer you from your current electricity retailer to us, as soon as reasonably practicable.
2.4. Under the Rules you have a 10-day cooling off period after accepting this contract, during which you may cancel this contract. To cancel during the cooling off period you will notify us in writing or by phone. The cooling off period starts from the day after you receive your electricity plan confirmation. If you cancel, we will not transfer you from your existing electricity retailer, or reverse the transfer process.
2.5. This contract ends:
a. if you give us a notice stating you wish to end the contract—subject to clause 2.6, on a date advised by us of which we will give you at least 5 but no more than 20 business days notice;
b. if you are no longer a residential customer:
i. subject to subclause 2.6, on a date specified by us, of which we will give you at least 5 but no more than 20 business days notice; or
ii. if you have not told us of a change in the use of your electricity—from the time of the change in use; or
c. if we both agree to a date to end the contract—on the date that is agreed;
d. if you start to buy electricity for the premises from a different retailer– on the date that arrangement starts;
e. if a different customer starts to buy electricity for the premises—on the date that customer’s contract starts; or
f. if the premises are disconnected and you have not met the requirements in the Rules for reconnection—10 business days from the date of disconnection.
2.6. If you do not give us safe and unhindered access to the premises to conduct a final meter reading (where relevant), this contract will not end under clause 2.5(a) or (b) until we have issued you a final bill and you have paid any outstanding amount for the sale of electricity.
2.7. Rights and obligations accrued before the end of this contract continue despite the end of the contract, including any obligations to pay amounts to us. You will be responsible for any costs associated with obligations that fall due after the end of this contract, and you agree that we may recover these costs from you.
2.8. When we receive a notice under clause 2.5(a), we will use our best endeavours to arrange for the reading of the meter on the date specified in your notice (or as soon as possible after that date if you do not provide access to your meter on that date) and send a final bill to you at the forwarding address stated in your notice.
2.9. You will continue to be responsible for charges which relate to your premises until your contract ends in accordance with clause 2.5 of this contract.
3. Your obligations
3.1. You will give us any information we reasonably require for the purposes of this contract. The information will be correct, and you will not mislead or deceive us in relation to any information provided to us.
3.2. You will tell us promptly if:
a. information you have provided to us changes, including if your billing address changes or if your use of electricity changes (for example, if you start running a business at the premises); or
b. you are aware of any change that materially affects access to your meter or to other equipment involved in providing metering services at the premises.
Life support equipment
3.3. If a person living or intending to live at your premises requires life support equipment, you will register the premises with us or your distributor and provide medical confirmation for the premises.
3.4. You will tell us or your distributor if the life support equipment is no longer required at the premises. If you tell us that a person living or intending to live at your premises requires life support equipment, we will comply with our obligations under energy law.
Wrongful and illegal use of electricity
3.5. You will not, and will take reasonable steps to ensure others do not:
a. illegally use electricity supplied to your premises; or
b. interfere or allow interference with any electricity equipment that is at your premises except as may be permitted by law; or
c. use the electricity supplied to your premises or any electricity equipment in a manner that:
i. unreasonably interferes with the connection or supply of electricity to another customer; or
ii. causes damage or interference to any third party; or
d. allow electricity purchased from us to be used otherwise than in accordance with this contract and the Rules; or
e. tamper with, or permit tampering with, any meters or associated equipment.
Obligations if you aren’t an owner
3.6. If you cannot meet an obligation relating to your premises under this contract because you are not the owner you will not be in breach of the obligation if you take all reasonable steps to ensure that the owner or other person responsible for the premises fulfils the obligation.
4.1. The quality and reliability of your electricity supply is subject to a variety of factors that are beyond our control as your retailer, including accidents, emergencies, weather conditions, vandalism, system demand, the technical limitations of the distribution system and the acts of other persons (such as your distributor), including at the direction of a relevant authority.
4.2. To the extent permitted by law, we give no condition, warranty or undertaking, and we make no representation to you, about the condition or suitability of electricity, its quality, fitness for purpose or safety, other than those set out in this contract.
4.3. Unless we have acted in bad faith or negligently, the National Energy Retail Law excludes our liability for any loss or damage you suffer as a result of the total or partial failure to supply electricity to your premises, which includes any loss or damage you suffer as a result of the defective supply of electricity.
4.4. To the extent permitted by law, and subject to the Rules, we are not liable to you for any loss or damage arising from this contract.
5.1. The prices for the sale of electricity to you and purchase of electricity by us from you under this contract are explained in our electricity plan confirmation. Please see the electricity plan confirmation for a detailed explanation of how our pricing model works.
5.2. Your electricity prices are determined by a range of factors, including your preferences, market conditions, government rebates, network fees, metering costs, certificate costs and wholesale market costs. These factors are outside of our control, and we may change the amount you are charged for electricity without informing you in advance, subject to any requirements under energy laws. You agree that we may vary the amounts we charge you.
5.3. If pricing or charges applying to you change during a billing cycle, we will calculate your bill on a proportionate basis.
5.4. Amounts payable under this contract may be stated to be exclusive or inclusive of GST. Clause 5.5 applies unless an amount is stated to include GST.
5.5. Where an amount paid by you under this contract is payment for a “taxable supply” as defined for GST purposes, to the extent permitted by law, that payment will be increased so that the cost of the GST payable on the taxable supply is passed on to the recipient of that taxable supply.
5.6. For the purposes of our purchase of electricity from you, you confirm that you are not registered for GST. We will send you statements regarding any payments made to you, and we both agree that no invoice will be issued by either of us in respect of those payments or the relevant supplies.
6. Billing and payment
6.1. We will send a bill to you as soon as possible after the end of each billing cycle. We will send the bill:
a. to you at the email address nominated by you (or by post if you request); or
b. to a person authorised in writing by you to act on your behalf at the address specified by you.
6.2. You may alter your billing cycle in accordance with the procedure set out in the electricity plan confirmation.
6.3. Bills we send to you (‘your bills’) will be calculated on:
a. the amount of electricity consumed at your premises and the electricity we purchase from you during the billing cycle (using information obtained from reading your meter or otherwise in accordance with the Rules);
b. the amount of fees and charges for any other services provided under this contract during the billing cycle;
c. the charges payable for services provided by your distributor, including connection charges if you have asked for a new connection or connection alteration and have not made alternative arrangements with your distributor; and
d. the charges payable for services provided by a metering coordinator, including attendance fees, installation fees or testing fees.
6.4. We may estimate the amount of electricity consumed at your premises or purchased by us if your meter cannot be read, if your metering data is not obtained (for example, if access to the meter is not given or the meter breaks down or is faulty), if necessary if we don’t have metering data, or if you otherwise consent. We use a computer model to estimate usage where up-to-date meter readings are not available.
6.5. If we estimate the amount of electricity consumed or purchased at your premises to calculate a bill, we will:
a. clearly state on the bill that it is based on an estimation; and
b. when your meter is later read, adjust your bill for the difference between the estimate and the electricity actually used.
6.6. If the later meter read shows that you have been undercharged, we will allow you to pay the undercharged amount in instalments, over the same period of time during which the meter was not read (if less than 12 months), or otherwise over 12 months.
6.7. If the meter has not been read due to your actions, and you request us to replace the estimated bill with a bill based on an actual reading of the meter, we will comply with your request but may charge you any cost we incur in doing so.
6.8. Upon request, we will give you information about your billing history, or electricity consumption history, with us for the previous 2 years free of charge. However, we may charge you if you require information going back more than 2 years or we have already given you this information 4 times in the previous 12 months.
6.9. Unless you have chosen to set up pre-payment with us in accordance with the electricity plan confirmation, you will pay to us the amount shown on each bill by the date for payment (the pay-by date) on the bill. The pay-by date will be no earlier than 13 business days from the date on which we issue your bill.
6.10. If you have difficulties paying your bill, you should contact us as soon as possible. We will provide you with information about payment options.
6.11. If you are a residential customer and have told us that you have difficulty paying your bill, we will offer you the option of paying your bill under a payment plan. However, we may not be obliged to do so if you have had 2 payment plans cancelled due to non-payment in the previous 12 months. A copy of our Customer Hardship Policy is available on our website.
6.12. You will provide us with a preferred payment method, and you will ensure that the preferred payment method is kept up to date and valid. If you set up a direct debit to pay your bill you agree that our direct debit service agreement (available on our website) will apply in addition to this contract.
6.13. If you have not paid a bill by the pay-by date, we may require you to pay a late payment fee, which is detailed in our electricity plan confirmation.
6.14. Where your account is in credit, we will pay the credit amount to you in accordance with the electricity plan confirmation and this contract. If your account is in credit when this contract ends, we will pay you the balance once all outstanding amounts have been paid to us.
7.1. You will allow us and our authorised representatives safe and unhindered access to your premises for the purposes of (where relevant):
a. reading, testing, maintaining, inspecting or altering any metering installation at the premises;
b. calculating or measuring electricity supplied or taken at the premises;
c. checking the accuracy of metered consumption at the premises; and
d. replacing meters.
7.2. We will use our best endeavours to ensure that a meter reading is carried out as frequently as is needed to prepare your bills, consistently with the metering rules and in any event at least once every 12 months.
7.3. We may arrange retailer planned interruptions to the supply of electricity to your premises where permitted under the energy laws for the purpose of the installation, maintenance, repair or replacement of an electricity meter. We will arrange retailer planned interruptions in accordance with the energy laws.
8. Undercharging and overcharging
8.1. If we have undercharged you, we may recover the undercharged amount from you. If we recover an undercharged amount from you:
a. we will not charge interest on the undercharged amount; and
b. we will offer you time to pay the undercharged amount in instalments over the same period of time during which you were undercharged (if less than 12 months), or otherwise over 12 months.
8.2. The maximum amount we can recover from you is limited to the amount that has been undercharged in the 9 months immediately before we notify you, unless the undercharge is your fault, or results from your unlawful act or omission.
8.3. Where you have been overcharged by less than $50, and you have already paid the overcharged amount, we will credit that amount to your next bill.
8.4. Where you have been overcharged by $50 or more, we will inform you within 10 business days of our becoming aware of the overcharge and, if you have already paid that amount, we will credit that amount to your next bill. However, if you request otherwise, we will comply with that request.
8.5. If you have stopped buying electricity from us, we will use our best endeavours to pay the overcharged amount to you within 10 business days.
8.6. If you have been overcharged as a result of your own fault or unlawful act or omission, we may limit the amount we credit or pay you to the amount you were overcharged in the last 12 months.
8.7. If you disagree with the amount you have been charged, you can ask us to review your bill in accordance with our standard complaints and dispute resolution procedures.
8.8. If you ask us to, we will arrange for a check of the meter reading or metering data or for a test of the meter in reviewing the bill. However, you may be required to pay for the cost of the check or test, if the check or test shows that the meter or metering data was not faulty or incorrect.
8.9. If your bill is being reviewed, you are still required to pay any other bills from us that are due for payment and the lesser of:
a. the portion of the bill that you do not dispute; or
b. an amount equal to the average of your bills in the last 12 months.
9. Security Deposits and credit checking
9.1. We may require that you provide a security deposit. The circumstances in which we can require a security deposit and the maximum amount of the security deposit are governed by the Rules.
9.2. Where you have paid a security deposit, we will pay you interest on the security deposit at a rate and on terms required by the Rules.
9.3. We may use your security deposit, and any interest earned on the security deposit, to offset any amount you owe under this contract:
a. if you fail to pay a bill and as a result we arrange for the disconnection of your premises; or
b. in relation to a final bill (i.e. a bill we issue when you vacate the premises or when you stop purchasing electricity from us at your premises or when you request that your premises be disconnected), we will let you know if this is the case.
9.4. If we no longer require the security deposit and are required to return it to you we will credit the amount of the security deposit, together with any accrued interest, to your next bill.
9.5. You consent to a credit check or credit scoring by us or a third party service provider for the purposes of this contract. Where necessary or required by energy laws, we will obtain written confirmation of consent from you prior to any such check. You agree that we may obtain a consumer credit report containing information about you from a credit reporting agency for the purpose of this contract.
10. Disconnection and reconnection of supply
10.1. Subject to us satisfying the requirements in the Rules, we may arrange for the disconnection of your premises if:
a. you do not pay your bill by the pay-by date and, if you are a residential customer, you:
i. fail to comply with the terms of an agreed payment plan; or
ii. do not agree to an offer to pay the bill by instalments, or having agreed, you fail to comply with the instalment arrangement;
b. you do not give access to your premises to read a meter (where relevant) for 3 consecutive meter reads; or
c. you fail to give us safe and unhindered access to the premises; or
d. there has been illegal or fraudulent use of electricity at your premises in breach of clause 3.5 of this contract; or
e. we are otherwise entitled or required to do so under the Rules or by law.
10.2. Before disconnecting your premises, we will comply with relevant warning notice requirements and other provisions in the Rules, and in relation to safe and unhindered access only, we will use our best endeavours to contact you to arrange an appointment with you for access to your premises in addition to any warning notice.
10.3. We will arrange for the reconnection of your premises if, within 10 business days of your premises being disconnected:
a. you ask us to arrange for reconnection of your premises; and
b. you rectify the matter that led to the disconnection; and
c. you pay any reconnection charge (if requested).
10.4. We may terminate this contract 10 business days following disconnection if you do not meet the requirements in clause 10.3.
11. Notices and bills
11.1. Notices and bills under this contract will be sent in writing, unless this contract or the National Energy Retail Law or the Rules say otherwise. You agree that we may send notices and bills to you electronically to the email address set out in the electricity plan confirmation or as notified by you to us from time to time.
11.2. A notice or bill sent under this contract is taken to have been received by you or by us (as relevant):
a. on the date it is handed to the party, left at the party’s premises (in your case) or one of our offices (in our case); or
b. on the date 2 business days after it is posted; or
c. on the date of transmission (unless the sender receives notice that delivery did not occur or has been delayed) if sent electronically.
11.3. Our contact details for you to contact us or send us a notice are as set out in our bill to you, or as notified to you from time to time.
12.1. If you have a complaint relating to the sale of electricity by us to you, or this contract generally, you may lodge the complaint with us in accordance with our complaints and dispute resolution procedures, which can be found here https://localvolts.com.
12.2. If you make a complaint, we will respond to your complaint within the required timeframes set out in our complaints and dispute resolution procedures and inform you:
a. of the outcome of your complaint and the reasons for our decision; and
b. that if you are not satisfied with our response, you have a right to refer the complaint to the Energy and Water Ombudsman NSW.
13. Unforeseen events
13.1. If either party to this contract cannot meet an obligation under this contract because of an event outside the control of that party, which includes without limitation, pandemics and cyber-attacks (‘a force majeure event’):
a. the obligation, other than an obligation to pay money, is suspended to the extent it is affected by the force majeure event for as long as the force majeure event continues; and
b. the affected party will use its best endeavours to give the other party prompt notice of that fact including full particulars of the event, an estimate of its likely duration, the extent to which the affected party’s obligations are affected and the steps being taken to remove, overcome or minimise those effects.
13.2. A party that claims a force majeure event will use its best endeavours to remove, overcome or minimise the effects of that event as soon as practicable.
14.1. Some obligations placed on us under this contract may be carried out by another person. If an obligation is placed on us to do something under this contract, then:
a. we are taken to have complied with the obligation if another person does it on our behalf; and
b. if the obligation is not complied with, we are still liable to you for the failure to comply with this contract.
14.2. This contract may only be amended in accordance with the procedures set out in the National Energy Retail Law. We will publish any amendments to this contract on our website.
14.3. The laws of the jurisdiction where the premises we supply electricity to under this contract is located govern this contract.
14.4. If any matter that is required to be included in this contract by the National Energy Retail Law or the Rules is not dealt with in this contract, it will be incorporated as if it were a term of this contract, but only to the extent necessary to satisfy the requirements in the National Energy Retail Law and the Rules.
14.5. If we are no longer entitled by law to sell electricity to you due to a Retailer of Last Resort (“RoLR”) event occurring in relation to us, we are required under the National Energy Retail Law and the Rules to provide relevant information (including your name, billing address and metering identifier) to the entity appointed as the relevant designated retailer for the RoLR event and this contract will come to an end.
15. Definitions and interpretation
15.1. In this contract, unless the context otherwise requires:
a. headings are for reference purposes only and do not affect the interpretation of this contract;
b. the singular includes the plural and vice versa;
c. words denoting any gender include all genders;
d. reference to a person includes any other entity recognised by law and vice versa;
e. where a word or phrase is defined its other grammatical forms have a corresponding meaning;
f. any reference to a party to this contract includes its successors and permitted assigns;
g. any reference to any agreement or document includes that agreement or document as amended at any time;
h. the use of the word ‘includes’ or ‘including’ is not to be taken as limiting the meaning of the words preceding or succeeding it; and
i. reference to a statute includes all regulations and amendments to that statute and any statute passed in substitution for that statute or incorporating any of its provisions to the extent that they are incorporated.
15.2. Terms used in this contract have the same meanings as they have in the National Energy Retail Law and the Rules. However for ease of reference, a simplified explanation of some terms is given below:
billing cycle means the regular recurrent period for which you receive a bill from us as agreed with you, or otherwise required by energy laws;
business day means a day other than a Saturday, a Sunday or a public holiday;
customer means a person who buys or wants to buy electricity from us, and who may also wish to sell electricity to us;
customer connection contract means a contract between you and your distributor for the provision of customer connection services;
designated retailer means the financially responsible retailer for the premises (where you have an existing connection) or the local area retailer (where you do not have an existing connection) for your premises;
disconnection means an action to prevent the flow of electricity to the premises, but does not include an interruption;
distributor means the person who operates the system that connects your premises to the distribution network;
distributor planned interruption means an interruption for:
(a) the planned maintenance, repair or augmentation of the transmission system; or
(b) the planned maintenance, repair or augmentation of the distribution system, including planned or routine maintenance of a meter (excluding a retailer planned interruption); or
(c) the installation of a new connection or a connection alteration;
emergency means an emergency due to the actual or imminent occurrence of an event that in any way endangers or threatens to endanger the safety or health of any person, or normal operation of the distribution system or transmission system, or that destroys or damages, or threatens to destroy or damage, any property;
energy laws means national and State and Territory laws and rules relating to electricity and the legal instruments made under those laws and rules;
Generating system means electrical equipment and associated electricity structures that are used to generate or store electricity for supply to the distribution network.
GST has the meaning given in the GST Act (A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) Act 1999 (Cth));
interruption means a temporary unavailability or temporary curtailment of the supply of electricity from a distribution system to a customer, but does not include disconnection;
medical confirmation means certification from a registered medical practitioner of the requirement for life support equipment at your premises;
Metering Coordinator means a person registered by the Australian Energy Market Operator who engages in the coordination and provision of metering services at a connection point;
National Energy Retail Law means the Law of that name that is applied by each participating State and Territory;
relevant authority means any person or body who has the power under law to direct us, including the Australian Energy Market Operator and State or Federal Police;
residential customer means a person who purchases electricity principally for personal, household or domestic use at their premises, and who may also wish to sell electricity to us;
retailer means a person that is authorised to sell electricity to customers;
retailer planned interruption means an interruption that:
(a) is for the purposes of the installation, maintenance, repair or replacement of an electricity meter; and
(b) does not involve the distributor effecting the interruption; and
(c) is not an interruption which has been planned by your distributor.
RoLR event means an event that triggers the operation of the Retailer of Last Resort scheme under the National Energy Retail Law;
Rules means the National Energy Retail Rules made under the National Energy Retail Law;
Security deposit means an amount of money paid to us as security against non-payment of a bill in accordance with the Rules.