New rules to protect consumers from large bill penalties
The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) today announced new rules directing energy retailers to scale back the large financial penalties they currently charge consumers who pay late bills.
For some time, energy companies have provided market offers to customers with conditional discounting - eg. discounts if you pay your bill on time. However these conditions can lead to excessive charges and financial hardship. Some penalties have been as high as 40% which could cost a household hundreds of dollars a year.
The new rules apply to gas and electricity contracts signed from 1 July 2020, and mean consumers don’t have to change their existing contracts and can keep discounts they have already signed up for with retailers. The rules also cap the level of conditional discounts and fees to a ‘reasonable cost’. Read more on the AEMC website.
While conditional discount offers from retailers have become less common, we strongly supported their regulation and we support these rule changes. You can read our submissions to the AEMC on the rule change below:
- January 2020 comment on draft rule determination (PDF 150KB)
- September 2019 comment on consultation paper (PDF 300KB)
Remember, if you have any issues with your energy bills, contact your provider first. If you're not happy with their response, you can lodge a complaint with us.