Better Protections for Life Support Customers

This #BetterTogether initiative will work to identify Life Support Customers with critical continuous energy supply needs on the Life Support Customer registers. This will allow energy network businesses to better support them.

Life Support in the Home: Lived Experience Panel

We’re proud to announce our partnership with Consumers Health Forum (CHF) who have assisted with a new consumer panel to bridge the gap between the energy sector and Life Support Equipment users.

The consumer panel will consist of health consumers with Lived and Living Experience of Life Support Equipment in the Home. Panel members will be supported to participate in monthly online meetings over twelve months.

The panel will be confirmed and sitting this month April 2024.

Background information: Life Support Customers key findings

The Australian Energy Foundation Report ‘Better outcomes for energy consumers using life support equipment at home’, funded by Energy Consumers Australia in 2022, outlined key findings from over 4,000 Life Support Customers surveyed. The research found that:


of Life Support Customers use their Life Support Equipment to sustain their life


of Life Support Customers do not have a plan in place for back-up power


of Life Support Customers mistakenly expected priority power restoration within 2 hours


of Life Support Customers have access to back-up power

Working together to better protect Life Support Customers

Energy Charter Signatories, Collaborators and Supporters have engaged with customer and patient representatives, the medical profession and the energy sector to consider how to better protect Life Support Customers.

Life Support Medical Advisory Group

The Energy Charter supported the set up of the Life Support Medical Advisory Group (LMAG) in 2022, providing a forum for energy businesses and medical professionals to collectively explore and define the needs of Life Support Customers.

The LMAG provided a unique opportunity to build and evolve effective and meaningful support programs for Life Support Customers and made a number of recommendations that underpin the Rule Change Proposal.

The LMAG includes representatives from:

  • Life Support Customer groups
  • Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
  • Royal Australian College of Physicians
  • Australian Medical Association
  • Electricity and Gas Distributors
  • Electricity and Gas Retailers
  • Regulators
  • Consumer bodies

Energy and health consumer representatives

Following our consultation sessions in October 2023, we have extended collaboration with energy and health consumer representatives to ensure Life Support Customers under the existing definition are appropriately protected. 

We have worked with the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) and established a partnership with Consumer Health Forum of Australia (CHF) to explore prioritising Life Support Customers who face life threatening circumstances if their Life Support Equipment loses power.

This includes:

  • The medical confirmation process; and 
  • The potential prioritised supports that can be offered to Life Support Customers in an unplanned outage.

#BetterTogether Opportunities to prioritise Life Support Customers

Following sessions with energy and health consumer representatives and the LMAG, four critical opportunities were identified to improve protections for Life Support Customers in a Draft Rule Change Proposal, including:

Opportunity 1: Re-define Life Support Customers + proposed Rule Change

Life Support Registers need to identify customers who have critical needs for continuous power.

This opportunity introduces a Critical Needs Life Support Customer definition (definition to be developed) whereby critical energy-based life support needs are determined by a registered medical professional.

This definition will be included in our Proposed Rule Change incorporating the introduction of a new critical energy Life Support Customer definition, to be submitted for considerations to Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).

Opportunity 2: Co-development of a national Medical Registration Process

A medical registration process will be required to identify Life Support Customers who have critical needs for continuous power.

This opportunity introduces a new definition of critical energy Life Support Customers into a national Medical Registration Template Form and associated process. This will ensure safety steps are taken as part of the Medical Registration Process build capacity of health and wellbeing services to implement the Medical Registration Process for all Life Support Customers.

Opportunity 3: Co-development of national outage backup plan template

All Life Support Customers would greatly benefit from outage backup plans that account for their ongoing medical capacity.

This opportunity recognises that most people on the Life Support Equipment Register don’t have adequate back up plans/equipment. Working with representatives of Life Support Customers, their carers and professionals from health services alongside Energy Charter #BetterTogether Collaborators, we will develop a national outage backup plan template.

Opportunity 4: Co-development of national information and awareness campaign 

Life Support Customers would greatly benefit from more information and awareness on: 

  1. Medically informed outage backup planning
  2. What happens in a planned and unplanned outage and,
  3. Eligible concessions that help manage energy costs.

This opportunity includes working with those with lived experience as a Life Support Customer, their carers and professionals from health and services alongside #BetterTogther Collaborators to co-develop a national information and awareness campaign. 

This campaign will ensure diversity and equity underpins communication approaches and provide Life Support Customers with regular updated information and support including (but not limited to):

  • in the preparation of natural disasters
  • if they move house or
  • if their medical situation changes.

Collaborators on this initiative

Led by SA Power Networks and Essential Energy, with support from AGIG, AGL, Ausgrid, AusNet Services, Aurora Energy, Endeavour Energy, EnergyAustralia, Horizon Power and TasNetworks.

Consumer Health Forum of Australia (CHF) and the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) are leading how we are informed by those with lived experience.

The AEMC and Energy WA have played an important role as observers.

Meet the team - Bec

Reach out to our Director, Collaboration

If you would like more information about the #BetterTogether Life Support Customers initiative, including how you can get involved, please reach out to Bec Jolly Director, Collaboration.