Under the Retail Law, the AER has developed Retail Pricing Information Guidelines. This prescribes how retailers must present their standing offer plan prices and market offer plan prices to customers. This aims to assist residential and small business customers when they consider and compare the prices of the different plans from retailers.
Under the Guidelines, retailers must have available two documents (the plan documents) for each plan:
- Basic Plan Information Document (BPID)
- Detailed Plan Information Document (DPID)
These summarise important plan information including:
- the unit price for electricity and gas under the offer, and how this may be varied by the retailer
- the daily supply charge that is applicable
- key fees that may be charged, such as account establishment fees; exit fees; late payment fees; disconnection and reconnection fees; payment processing fees etc
- discounts and incentives available, such as loyalty incentives or discounts; one-off discounts; pay on time and other contingent discounts; dual fuel discounts; direct debit discounts etc
- the length of the contract
- how to get the full terms and conditions of the contract
- the retailer’s contact details
- a reference to the AER’s price comparator website Energy Made Easy
Retailers must use the plan documents when they present, market or advertise pricing information to customers, including in door-to-door sales. On their website, retailers must publish a link to the BPID. When telemarketing to customers, retailers must advise customers that the BPID is available and send it to the customer on request.
By specifying in the Guidelines the manner and form in which this offer information is presented by retailers, the AER aims to create a ‘standard’ form of presenting information to consumers, giving them confidence in the accuracy and comparability of this information.
Retail Pricing Information Guidelines 2018
On 23 April 2018, the AER released a final version 5.0 of its Retail Pricing Information Guidelines and accompanying Notice of Final Instrument. Version 5.0 of the Guidelines commenced on 31 August 2018.
AER's price comparator website (Energy Made Easy)
The Guidelines and plan documents are only one component of the broader range of tools that will be available to assist consumers to compare energy plans and make informed switching decisions. Another tool is the AER’s price comparator website Energy Made Easy. The purpose of the price comparator website is to compare available standing offer plans and market offer plans.
The Guidelines also requires retailers to submit plan data and information to Energy Made Easy.
Publishing retailers' standing offer plan prices
The AER is required under the Retail Law to publish retailers' standing offer plan prices.
See my energy bill and tariffs and fees for more general information on understanding your energy bill.