The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) has published a consultation paper on a rule change request from the Federal Minister for the Environment and Energy and the NSW Minister for Utilities and Resources that will require retailers to give customers advance notice of any price increases on their energy bills.
Under existing rules, notice of a price increase is required, as a minimum, no later than the customer’s next bill.
This means the customer is notified anywhere from a few days after the change comes into effect to up to three months afterwards, depending on the customer’s bill cycle.
The Commonwealth and NSW Governments want customers to be informed of any changes to their energy prices before those changes happen.
Armed with advance notice of price changes, consumers may be prompted to shop around and find a better offer.
This may encourage retailers to provide more competitive offers, with the effect of driving down prices.
The rule change request would amend the National Energy Retail Rules (NERR) to require retailers to provide:
- Ten days’ advance notice of price increases to customers on market offer contracts
- Advance notice to customers on standing offer contracts
The contents of the notice to customers will also be considered as part of this rule change request.
This includes assessing whether the notice should include information on price comparator websites and should also inform customers of their rights to historical billing and consumption information.
Stakeholders are invited to make submissions by 24 May 2018.