AER invites stakeholder views on Better Bills

The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) is today seeking early views on how to make energy bills simpler and easy to understand, to inform the development of a new enforceable Better Bills Guideline.

The new Guideline aims to simplify energy bills so households and small businesses can more easily manage their energy usage and costs, and find the best energy deal.

The AER has today published new consumer insights and research about consumer billing comprehension, preferences and behaviours. The research was commissioned by the AER and the Behavioural Economics Team of the Australian Government (BETA). The AER is also publishing results of focus groups of older, non-digital consumers, and those that speak a language other than English.

The research findings look at what content should be included on bills, how bills can be simplified, and how bill comprehension can be improved

The research and other insights can help inform early feedback on the issues to be addressed in the Guideline. In particular, the AER is seeking views about the costs and benefits of changes to bill requirements, opportunities to simplify regulatory requirements on bills, and practical implementation issues that should be considered in developing the guideline.

Background

The AER Bill Contents and Billing Requirements Guideline (Better Bills Guideline) will outline how retailers should prepare and issue bills to consumers to improve consumer and market outcomes.

The Better Bills Guideline is being developed following a rule change request submitted by the Honourable Angus Taylor MP, Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction on 16 April 2020.

The new Guideline will be published by 1 April 2022, and will be mandatory for all retailers. Changes will start to appear on consumer bills from August 2022 and will be monitored for compliance by the AER.

Submissions

We invite submissions on issues that will inform the Better Bills Guideline by Wednesday, 22 September 2021. More detail is available in the Submissions web page

Submissions may be submitted directly via the ACCC Consultation Hub or emailed to ConsumerPolicy@aer.gov.au.

Alternatively, you may post submissions to:

Australian Energy Regulator
Consumer Policy Team, Attn. Mark Feather
GPO Box 3131
Canberra ACT 2601

We prefer that all submissions be publicly available to facilitate an informed and transparent consultative process. We will treat submissions as public documents unless otherwise requested. All non-confidential submissions will be placed on the AER's website. For further information regarding the AER's use and disclosure of information provided to it, see the ACCC/AER Information Policy.

We request parties wishing to submit confidential information:

  • clearly identify the information that is the subject of the confidentiality claim
  • provide a non-confidential version of the submission in a form suitable for publication.
Issued date: 
2 September 2021
AER reference: 
AC 138/21
Contact: 
General enquiries - Consumer policy, General enquiries - Consumer policy Consumerpolicy@aer.gov.au