The BTM Code sets out comprehensive practice standards to ensure that customers are aware of their rights and that providers of behind the meter products and services are acting responsibly and in accordance with their obligations.
The Code will also include technical schedules addressing the requirements for specific behind the meter technologies which will be amended over time, to cater for new innovative products and services which come onto the market in the future.
The practice standards cover each stage of the customer journey, from the provider’s pre-sale conduct through to their complaint-handling procedures. The key requirements are outlined below.
- All promotional material must be clear, truthful and accurate
- All sales and quotation practices must be responsible and must not include pressure selling
- Providers must undertake site-specific full system design and ensure all products and services are fit for purpose.
- Customers must be provided with a written quote and contract which clearly outlines the product or service to be supplied, any relevant cooling-off period, and all other key terms and conditions.
- If a provider assists a consumer to arrange financing for their purchase, consumers must be provided with all relevant information about the financier, the relevant terms and conditions and any entitlement the customer may have to financial hardship assistance.
- Customers must be provided with all necessary documentation and all steps must be taken to enable customers to get the benefit of their purchase.
- The customer must be notified in writing of any changes to their contract
Compliant handling standards
- Providers must be responsive to consumers and deal with their complaints appropriately
- Customers must be provided with a warranty for all products and workmanship that guarantees a reasonable period of working life, and providers must promptly honour their obligations under warranties.
The practice standards may appear familiar as they enshrine a number of consumer protections that already exist under Australian Consumer Law. Articulation of these principles in the BTM Code may be beneficial to improve consistency and promote an even playing field between a large range of industry participants with a large variance in legal sophistication.
The BTM Code also seeks to include a number of additional features such as an independent compliance monitoring and enforcement framework. It will be administered by a ‘Code Administrator’, and a ‘Code Review Panel’ will be created to oversee the administration and hear appeals from signatories. There is no clarity on who will take on these roles. However, discussions regarding governance and administration are currently being undertaken in parallel to the consultation on the substantive provisions of the BTM Code.