Better Bills Guideline

Segment: 
Category: 
Retail pricing information
Status: 
Date initiated: 
18 March 2021
Date completed: 
31 March 2022
Effective date: 
4 August 2022
Contact: 
General enquiries - Consumer policy, General enquiries - Consumer policy Consumerpolicy@aer.gov.au
AER reference: 
AER202212

Overview

On 18 March 2021, the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) made a final rule requiring us to publish a Better Bills 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, now Minister for Industry, 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