Under the National Energy Retail Law (Retail Law), the AER must develop and operate an online price comparator website to assist small energy customers to compare the electricity and gas offers available to them. The website must be operational on 1 July 2012, when the Retail Law commences.
On 30 January 2012, the AER released its final Statement of Approach for the price comparator website. The Statement of Approach details the operation of the website, including required inputs from the user, the display of available offers to the user, and website accessibility. The views expressed in submissions to the draft Statement of Approach released in November 2011 and the accompanying stakeholder forum have informed the development of the Statement of Approach.
In July 2011, the AER published a letter to stakeholders and an issues paper on the price comparator website. The issues paper set out the AER's preliminary considerations on a range of issues associated with the development of a price comparator website. The AER also held public stakeholder forums on the issues paper on 17 and 25 August 2011. Submissions to these have also informed the development of the draft Statement of Approach.
The AER has also amended its Retail Pricing Information Guideline, which provides direction to energy retailers about the provision of data and information to the AER for the purposes of the price comparator website.