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Compliance with legislation

 

Table 11 shows the compliance activities Clean Energy Regulator conducted on a monthly basis during 2012. These activities do not include investigations, desktop reviews or audits.

Table 11: Compliance activities January–December 2012

Activity Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec Total
Site visits1 0 11 7 0 1 0 2 10 0 1 0 0 32
Pre-validation checks2 7,571 5,996 7,087 4,418 6,879 6,450 8,429 11,581 7,074 6,750 8,226 4,682 85,143
Outreach visits3 0 0 0 0 6 0 0 1 0 1 5 0 13
Warrants executed4 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 2 0 0 0 5
Compliance visits5 4 6 3 10 6 5 4 8 6 7 17 6 82
Enforceable undertakings6 0 0 0 1 0 0 2 1 1 0 0 0 5

Compliance outcomes

The RET compliance activities undertaken have increased stakeholder awareness of their compliance obligations. The updated compliance web page and publishing of compliance statistics sends a clear message to stakeholders of the Clean Energy Regulator’s commitment to ensuring compliance with the Act by all parties.

The compliance team actively investigates allegations of breaches of the Act. During 2012, the compliance team received 147 allegations and has 50 matters currently open. This includes 45 open cases, three referrals under assessment and two information reports currently being assessed.

The majority of matters requiring further attention in 2012 related to the improper creation of certificates for PV installations.

A total of 134 matters were closed during 2012. While none of the closures were as a result of a finalised prosecution, investigations resulted in a range of administrative action being taken which included:

  • warning letters
  • voluntary surrender of certificates, and
  • voluntary rectification of installations.

In addition, five enforceable undertakings were agreed by the Clean Energy Regulator arising from the outcomes of investigations and four REC Registry accounts were suspended while investigations were undertaken. Two of these accounts are still suspended.

In support of investigations, the compliance team executed three monitoring warrants, assistance was provided to the New South Wales police for one warrant and one warrant under the Crimes Act 1914 was executed with the assistance of the Australian Federal Police.

While the aim of the Clean Energy Regulator is to achieve voluntary compliance, civil and criminal prosecutions are pursued in the more serious matters and in accordance with the Compliance and Enforcement Framework. One matter is currently before the Federal Court for a consideration of a civil prosecution and one matter has recently been heard in the NSW District Court, resulting in a conviction and a sentence of imprisonment, to be served by home detention.

1 Site visits include physical visits to installation sites, but also include physical checks of sites where installations are viewed from the street to confirm that an installation has occurred.

2 Pre-validation checks are checks carried out prior to the validation of certificates. These include telephone verification with the system owner, checks of aerial photography to verify installation, requests and review of compliance paperwork from Agents and physical site inspections.

3 Outreach visits are visits to stakeholders that are not in response to a specific compliance issue and can be instigated either by the Clean Energy Regulator or at request from the stakeholder.

4 Warrants executed refer to the execution of monitoring warrants under Section 125 of the Act.

5 Compliance visits refers to visits to stakeholders in relation to specific compliance issues.

6 The Clean Energy Regulator may accept an undertaking from a person that they will take specific action or refrain from taking specific action to comply with the Act or that the person will surrender one or more certificates to compensate for the creation of certificates that they were not entitled to create. If a person enters such an undertaking and the Clean Energy Regulator considers that the person has breached the undertaking the Regulator may apply to the federal court for enforcement of the order.

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