Under the Retail Law, the AER has developed Retail pricing information guidelines. This prescribes how retailers must present their standing offer prices and market offer prices to customers. This aims to assist residential and small business customers when they consider and compare the prices of the different offers from retailers.
Under the Guidelines, retailers must create and publish Energy Price Fact Sheets. These summarise important information on the different contract offers available to customers, including:
- the unit price for electricity and gas under the offer, and how this may be varied by the retailer
- the daily supply charge that is applicable
- key fees that may be charged, such as account establishment fees; exit fees; late payment fees; disconnection and reconnection fees; payment processing fees etc
- discounts and incentives available, such as loyalty incentives or discounts; one-off discounts; pay on time and other contingent discounts; dual fuel discounts; direct debit discounts etc
- the length of the contract
- how to get the full terms and conditions of the contract
- the retailer’s contact details
- a reference to the AER’s price comparator website
Retailers must use these fact sheets when they present, market or advertise pricing information to customers, including in door-to-door sales. When telemarketing to customers, retailers must advise customers that the fact sheet is available and post it to the customer on request.
By specifying in the Guidelines the manner and form in which this offer information is presented by retailers, the AER aims to create a ‘standard’ form of presenting information to consumers, giving them confidence in the accuracy and comparability of this information.
Retail Pricing Information Guidelines - revised version
On 31 August 2015, the AER released version 4.0 of its Retail Pricing Information Guidelines. Version 4.0 of the Guidelines. The new version clarifies how retailers comply with the Guidelines and makes amendments to the presentation and content of Energy Price Fact Sheets. Version 4.0 also extends some requirements to advertising and marketing.
AER's price comparator website (Energy Made Easy)
The Guideline and fact sheets are only one component of the broader range of tools that will be available to assist consumers to compare energy offers and make informed switching decisions. Another tool is the AER’s price comparator website Energy made easy. The purpose of the price comparator website is to assist customers to compare the standing offer prices and market offer prices available to them.
The Guideline also requires retailers to provide data and information to the AER on their offers for the purposes of operating the price comparator website.
Publishing retailers' standing offer prices
The AER is required under the Retail Law to publish retailers' standing offer prices. These will be available on the AER's price comparator website, Energy Made Easy.