Overview

Type
Sector
Electricity
Gas
Segment
Retail
Region
Australian Capital Territory
New South Wales
Queensland
South Australia
Tasmania
Status
Current
Date initiated
Effective date
Date completed
Categories
Retail pricing information
AER reference
AER202212

A draft Better Bills Guideline (Version 2) was published on 23 September 2022 for consultation to make minor amendments to the guideline.

On 18 March 2021, the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) made a final rule requiring us to publish a Better bills guideline (the Guideline) by 1 April 2022. The purpose of the Guideline is to provide guidance to retailers on preparing and issuing bills that make it easy for residential and small customers to understand billing information.

The Guideline development process was informed by a range of sources, including:

On 31 March 2022, the AER published the final Better Bills Guideline.

Background

On 16 April 2020, the Hon Angus Taylor MP (then Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction), submitted a rule change request to amend the National Energy Retail Rules on behalf of the Australian Government.

The rule change request sought to simplify energy bills in order to ensure clear and accessible information for all customers and to help reduce market complexity while strengthening the ability of customers to make informed decisions. The Minister noted this would make it easier for consumers to:

  • pay their energy bills
  • ensure their bill conforms to their contract
  • query their bill
  • understand their usage
  • navigate the retail market to seek the best offer.

In response to the rule change request, the AEMC made a more preferable rule, adopting many elements of the initial rule change request. The final rule requires the AER to develop, and retailers to comply with, a mandatory billing guideline setting out how retailers must prepare and issue bills to residential and small business customers.

The development of the Guideline aligns with the AER Strategic Plan 2020–2025 commitment to improve consumer outcomes while reducing costs to serve, by boosting consumer and behavioural insights and applying them across our initiatives. In this case, we worked with the Behavioural Economics Team of the Australian Government (BETA) as part of a broader strategic partnership, as well as other research consultants.

Progress to date