The AER is currently consulting on draft version 5 of the Retail Pricing Information Guidelines. The draft Guidelines include a number of proposed changes to address the complexity of energy plan and price information available to customers and make it easier for customers to compare energy plans. These changes seek to increase customer engagement and confidence in the retail energy market.
Under the draft Guidelines, the existing Energy Price Fact Sheet will be replaced by two new documents through which retailers will provide clearer and simpler information to customers. This will allow customers to more easily compare energy plans. The draft Guidelines also propose a number of amendments covering terminology and how these documents are dealt with by retailers and their agents to strengthen consistency in communicating energy plan information to customers.
Interested parties were invited to make written submissions by 16 March 2018 on the draft Guidelines.
Under the National Energy Retail Law, the AER may develop and amend Retail Pricing Information Guidelines. The Guidelines are the main regulatory instrument that set out how retailers must provide information about their plans. The Guidelines 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.
The Guidelines play an important role in educating consumers and empowering them to engage in the retail energy market and make more informed and efficient decisions. By specifying the manner and form in which information is presented by retailers, we aim to create a clear and consistent form of presenting important information to customers, giving them confidence in the accuracy and comparability of this information.
The current version 4.0 of the Retail Pricing Information Guidelines were released on 31 August 2015, and took effect on 1 February 2016. Since then the complexity of energy plan information and the way it is presented to customers has been identified as a barrier to customers engaging in the market and accessing better/cheaper offers.