Prepared by Brian Attwood for Consumers SA.
The AER (Australian Energy Regulator) has just published its new rules for retailer comparisons posted on the Energy Made Easy website. They are contained in the following documents:
- Notice of Final Instrument: AER Retail Pricing Information Guidelines: Version 5 April 2018.
- AER Retail Pricing Information Guidelines: Version 5 April 2018.
Both of these documents will help consumers to better understand retail offers on power and gas. They are now available on the AER website (click on the links above to access them).
The AER says that the “[g]uidelines play an important role in educating consumers and empowering them to engage in the retail energy market and make more informed and efficient decisions. By specifying the manner and form in which information is presented by retailers, [the AER] aims to create a clear and consistent form of presenting important information to customers, giving them confidence in the accuracy and comparability of this information".
Standard terminology has been mandated for the Energy Made Easy website. All offers will be initially entered by retailers but formulated by the Energy Made Easy system. This should ensure that enough information is available to enable consumers to make an informed choice between competing offers.
The same format will be required in advertising - but it is only recommended for energy bills "where possible".
Dates for implementation are:
- plans that meet new definition of generally available: 1 October 2018.
- all generally available plans: 1 January 2019.
It will be interesting to see how this all works out in practice.