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:
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.
On 31 August 2015, the AER released version 4.0 of its Retail Pricing Information Guidelines. Version 4.0 of the Guidelines will commence on 1 February 2016. 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.
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.
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.