Australian Energy Regulator Chair Andrew Reeves today outlined the AER’s work to build consumer confidence in the retail energy market. Mr Reeves addressed the South Australia Council of Social Service’s Hardship and Affordability conference in Adelaide.
“Better regulation and greater consumer engagement will deliver efficient markets that give informed consumers more choice and control over energy costs,” Mr Reeves said.
“Electricity retail offers are complex and it is difficult for energy customers to make an informed choice when they want to change contracts.”
The AER's energy price comparison website, Energy Made Easy, makes it easier to compare offers. It includes all generally available offers. It provides consumers in states and territories where the Retail Law has commenced (South Australia, ACT, Tasmania and New South Wales) with independent, objective and free comparisons of energy offers to help them work out which is the best energy deal for them.
“The new Retail Law brings obligations for retailers, and a high level of industry compliance is vital for fair dealings and consumer confidence in energy markets,” Mr Reeves said.
As part of its compliance role the AER will be conducting a review of retailers’ approved hardship policies.
“This review will help us to determine how retailers use their customer hardship policies to identify and assist customers experiencing payment difficulties.”
Mr Reeves also provided an update on some of the key work underway at the AER to improve consumer confidence in the market. This includes a review of retailers’ billing practices, and a report on energy affordability.
The AER has published educational materials on what to look for when considering energy offers, and consumer protection around door to door selling, cooling-off provisions and customer hardship. For further information visit www.aer.gov.au or www.energymadeeasy.gov.au.