Life support equipment and registration for patients – how can GPs help?

18 Aug 2016

The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) is raising awareness among GPs regarding a key consumer protection contained in energy laws that relates to customers that require continuous power in order to operate life support equipment. This protection includes strict controls on when customers can be disconnected from their power supply and ensures they receive advance notice of a planned interruption to their power supply.

To be eligible for this protection, customers must provide their energy company with confirmation from a registered medical practitioner. Registration forms for this purpose are available from their energy company and must be completed by both the customer and their doctor before they are returned to the energy company.

You can assist your patients by:

  • Telling them to call their energy company and request a life support registration form.
  • Reminding them to book another appointment as you must sign the form before they send it back.
  • Reminding them that they should have a plan in place just in case their power supply is interrupted as this may affect their use of the equipment.

Life support equipment includes:

  • an oxygen concentrator;
  • an intermittent peritoneal dialysis machine;
  • a kidney dialysis machine;
  • a chronic positive airways pressure respirator;
  • crigler najjar syndrome phototherapy equipment;
  • a ventilator for life support;
  • or any other equipment certified by a registered medical practitioner.

The AER regulates retail energy markets in Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania (electricity) and the ACT. Its functions aim to help consumers engage confidently in the retail market and make well informed choices.

More information for patients on life support can be found at www.energymadeeasy.gov.au.