From 30 September, energy bills will be easier for consumers to understand as energy retailers comply with the new billing obligations in the Australian Energy Regulator's (AER) Better Bills Guideline.
The new mandatory Better Bills Guideline is designed to help households and small businesses understand their energy usage and costs, and for people to find the best energy deal with their retailer.
Retailers must now include a ‘better offer’ statement on the front page of their bill. This statement must tell the customer if the retailer can offer a better deal, which could include the retailer’s standing offer, and include details of how to switch plans.
AER Chair Ms Clare Savage said it’s critical that consumers can navigate their bill and proactively engage in the energy market.
“Now, more than ever, consumers must have the information they need, presented in a way they can easily understand, to ensure they can make informed decisions about their energy plan. These new billing obligations provide clarity and transparency for consumers.
“Even if they are on their current retailer’s best deal, we strongly encourage all consumers to visit the Energy Made Easy website – energymadeeasy.gov.au – to compare plans and find out if they could be on a better deal with another retailer. Under the Better Bills Guideline, every bill must now include a link to this independent website,” Ms Savage said.
In addition to the ‘better offer’ message, retailers must now use plain language in their bills and include only the most important information on the first page to support consumer understanding.
The Better Bills Guideline is part of the AER’s Towards Energy Equity strategy which is focused on protecting vulnerable consumers while enabling all consumers to participate in the energy market.
An illustrative example of a bill prepared in accordance with the Better Bills Guideline can be accessed on the AER website here.
Note to editors
The Better Bills Guideline (Version 1) was published on 31 March 2022. The purpose of the Guideline is to provide guidance to retailers on preparing and issuing bills that make it easy for small customers to understand billing information.
On 23 September 2022, the AER published a draft Better Bills Guideline (Version 2) and draft notice for consultation. The amendments in the draft Better Bills Guideline (Version 2) provide clarity on the better offer and self-read information requirements. They also provided flexibility to allow for a delay to the date retailers must comply with the new billing requirements, in line with a determination made by the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) on 13 October 2022.
On 30 January 2023, the AER published the final Better Bills Guideline (Version 2). In addition to amendments proposed in the draft Guideline, the final Better Bills Guideline (Version 2) makes some further amendments in response to issues raised by stakeholders during the consultation process.
The Better Bills Guideline and the Energy Made Easy website are relevant to customers in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory.
Customers in Victoria should visit the Victorian Energy Compare website to compare available energy offers in their area.