The Australian Energy Regulator today released for consultation draft Retail Pricing Information Guidelines. Accompanying the draft Guidelines is the Notice of Draft Instrument which explains the proposed changes to the Guidelines and how these changes will impact retailers.
The draft Guidelines include proposed new requirements for retailers that primarily aim to reduce the complexity of information and make it easier for customers to compare energy plans
The AER’s proposed amendments include:
- Replacing the current Energy Price Fact Sheets with two new documents, a Basic Plan Information Document and a Contract Summary, through which retailers will provide more straightforward information to customers, including an estimated bill amount to allow for easier comparison between plans,
- Clarifying the definition of "generally available" plans, to ensure that plans intended to be available to a wide range of customers are included on Energy Made Easy, such that customers who search for all plans are able to compare all the plans that may be available to them in order to find the best one suited to their needs.
- Requiring retailers and their agents to provide customers with basic plan information when they publish or otherwise market energy plans, and
- Prescribing terminology when referring to basic tariff components on the Basic Plan Information document and Contract Summary.
We have consulted extensively on the issues covered by the draft Guidelines including through a September 2017 Issues Paper, a stakeholder Reference Group which met fortnightly from October to December 2017 and consumer research.
Under the National Energy Retail Law, the AER may develop and amend the Guidelines. The Guidelines aim to assist customers compare energy plans offered by retailers and also provide direction to energy retailers about providing data and information to the AER for the purposes of our energy price comparison website, Energy Made Easy.
Interested parties are invited to make written submissions on the draft Guideline by close of business, 16 March 2018. Late submissions may not be taken into account.
Submissions should be sent electronically to: AERinquiry@aer.gov.au with the subject line Draft AER Retail Pricing Information Guideline. We ask all submissions sent in an electronic format are in Microsoft Word or other text readable document form.
Alternatively, written submissions can also be sent to:
Ms Sarah Proudfoot
General Manager—Retail Markets
Australian Energy Regulator
GPO Box 520
Melbourne VIC 3001
Submissions provided by email do not need to be provided separately by mail. The AER prefers that all submissions be sent in an electronic format in Microsoft Word or other text readable document form and publicly available, to facilitate an informed, transparent and robust consultation process. Accordingly, submissions will be treated as public documents and posted on the AER's website, unless prior arrangements are made with the AER to treat the submission, or portions of it, as confidential. Those wishing to submit confidential information are requested to:
- clearly identify the information that is the subject of the confidentiality claim, and
- provide a non-confidential version of the submission.