Today we are initiating a joint rule change request from Federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg and NSW Utilities and Resources Minister Don Harwin to require retailers to give customers advance notice of any price increases on their energy bills. This is the fifth initiative from ministers since the Australian Government’s round table discussions with energy retailers last year to help deliver more affordable energy for consumers.
Other initiatives are:
Advance warnings to shop around before energy discounts finish - From 1 February 2018 energy retailers must notify their electricity and gas customers when benefits in their contract, such as a discount, are about to end or change. The AEMC made this expedited rule following a rule change request from Minister Frydenberg.
Stopping electricity discounting that can leave consumers worse off - The AEMC is currently assessing a rule change request from Minister Frydenberg to prohibit confusing retailer discounts – where retailers apply discounts to electricity rates in market contracts that are higher than the retailer’s equivalent standing offer. This can result in a discount ‘deal’ that leaves consumers worse off. This rule change is proceeding under the expedited rule making process, with a final rule due in May 2018.
Introducing maximum timeframes for meter installations - This rule change request from Minister Frydenberg would require retailers to provide customers with new electricity meters within a defined timeframe. Customers typically need a new ‘smart’ meter when they install solar panels or when their old meter needs replacing. The request was received by the AEMC on 5 March 2018 and is due to be initiated in May 2018.
Improving the accuracy of energy bills by allowing customers to have their electricity or gas bill based on their own reading of the meter - This rule change request from Minister Frydenberg aims to reduce the risk of consumers being exposed to the financial shock of an inaccurately estimated bill. It was received by the AEMC on 3 April 2018 and is due to be initiated in May 2018.
As with all our rule change requests, we encourage stakeholders including consumer groups, retailers and other industry participants to share their views and help guide our decisions on the best way to improve outcomes for energy customers.
Media: Communication Manager, Prudence Anderson 0404 821 935 or (02) 8296 7817