The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) is seeking input on how to streamline and simplify energy bills, feedback which will be incorporated into a new Better Bills Guideline.
The new guideline aims to make energy bills simpler and easier to understand so households and small businesses can more easily manage their energy usage and costs, and find the best energy deal.
The AER has published new consumer insights and research about consumer billing comprehension, preferences and behaviours. The research was commissioned by the AER and the Behavioural Economics Team of the Australian Government (BETA).
The AER is also publishing results of focus groups of older, non-digital consumers, and those that speak a language other than English.
The research findings look at what content should be included on bills, how bills can be simplified, and how bill comprehension can be improved.
The research and other insights can help inform early feedback on the issues to be addressed in the guideline.
In particular, the AER is seeking views about the costs and benefits of changes to bill requirements, opportunities to simplify regulatory requirements on bills, and practical implementation issues that should be considered in developing the guideline.
The AER Bill Contents and Billing Requirements Guideline (Better Bills Guideline) will outline how retailers should prepare and issue bills to consumers to improve consumer and market outcomes.
The Better Bills Guideline is being developed following a rule change request submitted by the Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, Angus Taylor, on 16 April 2020.
The new guideline will be published by 1 April 2022, and will be mandatory for all retailers.
Changes will start to appear on consumer bills from August 2022 and will be monitored for compliance by the AER.
The AER invites submissions on issues that will inform the Better Bills Guideline by Wednesday, 22 September 2021.
For more information, click here.