AEMC consumer regulatory reforms
The increased government and media focus on the energy sector has led to the largest number of regulatory reforms since the introduction of the National Energy Consumer Framework in 2013.
EWON welcomes the recent changes to the National Energy Rules by the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC). These reforms address practices, many of which we’ve been highlighting for some time, that negatively impact on consumers.
Recent AEMC rule changes include:
- Preventing discounts on inflated energy rates - effective July 2018
Retailers are prohibited from using confusing discounting practices that can result in a discount ‘deal’ that leaves consumers worse off under a undiscounted market offer, compared to the standing offer.
- Advance notice of discounts finishing - effective October 2018
Retailers are required to notify their electricity and gas customers at least five business days before their energy prices change due to the end of a fixed benefit period. The notices must include the date on which the customer’s benefits will change and a reference to the energy comparison website Energy Made Easy. This aims to encourage customers to shop around and look for a better energy deal, increasing engagement with the market and improving competition in those markets.
- Metering installation timeframes - effective February 2019
This proposed rule change would require retailers to provide customers with new digital electricity meters within a defined timeframe to reduce installation delays. For new meters, if no date is agreed, retailers would be required to install them within six business days after a property has been connected to the network. If customers want to upgrade their meter to a smart meter, or replace a faulty meter, retailers would have to agree on an installation date with customers or make sure the work is done within 15 business days.
- Self reads to reduce estimated bills - effective February 2019
Customers can now fix inaccurate estimated bills by providing their own reading of an electricity or gas meter to their retailer. Enabling customers to do meter self-reads can reduce bill shock in cases where customers receive high bills based on overestimated energy use or have to repay significant amounts due to previous underestimations.
- Advance notice of price changes - effective February 2019
Retailers are required to notify their electricity and gas customers at least five business days before their energy prices change. Advance notice will help avoid surprises and provide an opportunity for customers to consider other ways to manage changes to their energy bill before price rises occur. For more information, read our previous news article here.
To find out about new rule changes as they occur, subscribe to the AEMC’s newsletter.