Rule Change: Completed
On 7 November 2017 the AEMC made a final rule that requires energy retailers to notify electricity and gas customers when benefits in their contract, such as a discount, are about to end or change. Notices can encourage customers to shop around and look for a better energy deal. The rule started in February 2018.
Implementation of the new rule
The final rule, which is a more preferable rule, requires retailers to notify small electricity and gas customers in advance of changes to benefits (such as percentage discounts) provided in their contracts. This rule aims to increase consumer engagement with the energy markets and improve competition in those markets.
Retailers must provide customers with notices containing basic information from 1 February 2018. These notices must include the date on which the customer’s benefits will change and a reference to the energy comparison website Energy Made Easy, among other things.
The AER has developed guidelines on how retailers should calculate and present more detailed information, including information enabling customers to compare what they might pay if they remain on their current contract with other energy offers. These guidelines were published in June 2018 and retailers’ notices must comply with the guidelines by 1 October 2018.
The rule change request was submitted by the Honourable Josh Frydenberg MP, Minister for the Environment and Energy on behalf of the Australian Government on 22 August 2017, under the National Energy Retail Law. It sought to increase customer awareness of changes in retail market contracts by requiring retailers to give customers notice of the end of fixed benefit periods under those contracts.
The rule change was made using the expedited process as it was considered to be a non-controversial rule as defined in the National Energy Retail Law, and stakeholders did not object to this process.