LPG Retail Code
The Victorian LPG Retail Code has been established to protect the interests of all domestic customers by prescribing minimum standard service levels that LPG retailers are required to meet when selling LPG.
Available in an accessibility friendly format: Victorian LPG Retail Code
The Code was developed through a range of consultation between Government, consumer and industry representatives, along with the former Departments of Human Services and Justice, and the Energy and Water Ombudsman (Victoria). The LPG Retail Code is endorsed by the Australian Liquefied Petroleum Gas Association.
This page provides a summary of the key sections of the Code and how the Code has been designed to provide for Victorian LPG consumers.
What does the Code do?
The LPG Code sets out the main terms and conditions of supply to consumers, and ensures retailers and agents follow the right procedures. Furthermore, the Code provides details on the process to resolve disputes. The Code only applies to sales where bottled LPG is delivered to a domestic customers site. It does not apply to the sale of bottled LPG to business customers or to point of sale deliveries.
How does the Code Work?
The LPG Code is a voluntary Code. By volunteering to comply, an LPG retailer agrees to abide by the Code terms and conditions of service, and also to participate and be bound by the Energy and Water Ombudsman Victoria's (EWOV) dispute resolution scheme. If a consumer feels their retailer has not complied with the Code they may contact EWOV for assistance or to register a complaint against their retailer. Five LPG retailers (Elgas, Kleenheat, Origin Energy, Powergas and Supergas) have, through a voluntary undertaking, signed up to the Code and to the EWOV dispute resolution scheme.
How does the Code affect LPG Retailers?
LPG retailers who volunteer to comply with the Code must also ensure their representative agents observe the minimum standards in their dealings with customers. LPG retailers who volunteer to comply with the Code will be able to promote their affiliation with the Code to their customers and use the approved LPG Code logo.
What is in the Code?
The Code prescribes a minimum service standard for a range of areas such as information provision, billing, payment and other matters. The following are some of the key protection measures created by the Code.
The Code will be maintained and developed over time by a Code Governance Body which (as provided for in the Code itself) will consist of two (retailer) nominees of the Australian LPG Association (ALPGA), and two (consumer advocate) nominees of the Minister for Energy. The Code Governance representatives will meet a minimum three times a year and be appointed for a period of two years.
There is a need for both retailers and customers to exchange correct information relating to the supply of LPG to the customers property. A retailer is required to provide a customer with the basic terms and conditions of sale together with information, including delivery, details on cylinder storage, safety conditions and maintenance.
Customers may be required to provide information about their identity, contact details and the ownership status of the property where the LPG is used. The Code also states it is the customers responsibility to inform the retailer when their house is to be vacated.
Billing and Payments
The Code outlines actions to be taken by retailers and customers in regards to billing and payments. It stipulates details on payment methods, dates for payments, and refundable advances. It also states that retailers must issue receipts to their customers with specific information as detailed in the Code. This includes the customers details, delivery details and the contact details for both dispute resolution and Government concessions.
The Code includes details on instalment plans and the potential consequences for customers who fail to pay their accounts and the obligations on retailers to attempt to contact the customer in the event of outstanding bills.
Customer Rights and Complaints
In responding to a customer complaint, a retailer must advise the customer:
of their rights including the complaints process,
information on how the customer can escalate the complaint to a higher level of management within the retailers business
and that the customer can refer the issue to EWOV where the matter cannot be resolved between the customer and the retailer.
On request, a customer must be given a copy of the Code.
A retailer must handle a complaint by a customer in accordance with the relevant Australian Standard in Complaints Handling. The Code provides details on the complaint handling procedures.
Other Significant Aspects of the Code
- If the Contract states the retailer must deliver LPG to the customer's site, this must be done so as soon as is practicable. The customer must be given a delivery docket at the time the LPG is delivered.
- In cases of emergencies, cylinder installation/repair or for health and safety reasons a Retailer may stop supply of LPG to a customer's site. If a Retailer does stop supply they must provide the Customer with information about the reasons for the stoppage.
- A customer can terminate a contract at any time, but must give the retailer at least seven days notice. The customer must make the cylinder available for the retailer to collect.
To find out more about the Energy Water Ombudsman Victoria (EWOV) or where you have not been able to resolve a dispute with your retailer, contact EWOV on their free call number: 1800 500 509.
To find out more about the range of Concessions available to LPG users, contact the Department of Health and Human Services Concessions Information line on: 1800 658 521.