Rule Change: Completed

Overview

This rule change, requested by the Honourable Josh Frydenberg MP, Minister for the Environment and Energy, on behalf of the Australian Government, prohibits confusing retailer discounting practices which can result in a discount ‘deal’ that leaves consumers worse off. The rule started in July 2018.
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This rule change, requested by the Honourable Josh Frydenberg MP, Minister for the Environment and Energy, on behalf of the Australian Government, prohibits confusing retailer discounting practices which can result in a discount ‘deal’ that leaves consumers worse off. The rule started in July 2018.

Final rule and determination

On 15 May 2018 the Commission published its final rule and determination on this rule change.

The Commission’s final rule prohibits retailers from including discounts in market retail contracts where customers would definitely be worse off under the undiscounted market offer than under the standing offer. 

The final determination also includes a joint Commission-AER recommendation to the COAG Energy Council for new civil penalties if retailers breach the Retail Pricing Information Guidelines which set out how energy prices must be presented. 

This would allow the AER to issue infringement notices with penalties of up to $20,000 (for a body corporate) per breach.

Expedited process

Based on analysis of current energy offers, the Commission considered the request to be non-controversial as defined in the National Energy Retail Law. It was therefore subject to the expedited rule making process (no objections to expedition were received).

Consultation paper

On 20 March 2018 the Commission published a consultation paper with an initial position on the rule change request and associated indicative drafting. 

Submissions to the consultation paper closed on 17 April 2018 and are available below.

Consultation

While the rule change request met the tests to be expedited, the Commission noted that the issues presented were complex. Therefore, the Commission provided opportunities for consultation above the usual consultation within an expedited process. This included a stakeholder workshop on 5 April 2018. The agenda and presentation slides for the stakeholder workshop are below.
 

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Documentation