The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) has published a draft rule that would require retailers to provide customers with advance notice of price changes.
This information will help consumers avoid bill shock and prompt them to take control of their energy bill before price changes happen.
Advance notice will give people more time to take action – like shopping around for a better deal, or accessing their billing and usage data to work out how they can best manage the change in price.
The draft rule requires retailers to provide clear and concise price change notices, delivered at least five business days prior to price changes coming into effect. Notices should be sent by the consumer’s preferred form of communication and must include information on the date of the price change and the energy tariffs and charges to apply both before and after the change.
This notice requirement applies for all small gas and electricity retail customers on both market and standing offer contracts. Notices must be provided in advance of an increase or decrease in prices.
Retailers will be exempt from sending the notice in a limited number of scenarios such as when a customer has already received notice of the price change due to the end of a benefit period, or where prices vary as part of a customers’ contract – for example if the contract is linked to the spot price.
Earlier awareness of price changes should contribute to consumer’s confidence in the market and more frequent engagement with retailers to secure the best offer available. It will reduce the risk of bill shock and increase the opportunity for consumers to take control of their bills.
Stakeholders are encouraged to provide feedback on the draft rule with submissions closing 16 August 2018.
This rule is part of the AEMC's consumer protection action plan.