The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has published its Notice of Draft Instrument – AER Retail Pricing Information Guidelines – version 6 – June 2019.

Reason for the changes

The purpose of the update is to bring the AER Retail Pricing Information Guidelines’ into line with the Electricity Code and the Default Market Offer (DMO). If you missed our webinar on the DMO, you can view it here.

The AER’s objectives of the proposed amendments are to:

  • ensure that the Guidelines continue to serve as a practical mechanism for presenting a broad range of helpful information on energy plans to consumers;
  • remove any areas of potential inconsistency or confusion; and
  • ensure that EME continues to receive updated and relevant information from retailers to meet both the requirements of the Guidelines and Electricity Code.

What is changing

As noted above, the changes generally bring the Guidelines into line with the Electricity Code. There are new terms that retailers will need to understand including Proportional conditional discount, Reference price, Lowest possible price, and Model annual usage.

Changes in part B include additional information to be provided to Energy Made Easy:

‘Retailers must provide:24 a) the difference between the unconditional price of the plan and the reference price, expressed as a percentage of the reference price [s 12(3)(a) of the Electricity Code] b) the lowest possible price [s 12(3)(c) of the Electricity Code] c) the distribution region, and type of customer [s 12(6) of the Electricity Code]’

Discounts on plans must be expressed as a percentage of the reference price. There are also additional requirements when a retailer varies an existing tariff.

The changes will not apply to all regions. The Electricity Code, and amended sections of the Guideline, are only applicable to residential and small business customers in distribution regions where there is not already price regulation. This means that the Australian Capital Territory, South Australia, and what is commonly referred to as Ergon Zones of Queensland (other than South-East Queensland) are excluded.

Submissions

Interested parties are invited to make written submissions on the draft Guideline by 5pm AEST, Friday 26 July 2019. Submissions should be sent electronically to [email protected] with the subject line ‘Draft AER Retail Information Pricing Information Guidelines submission’. Alternatively, submissions can be sent to: General Manager—Consumer and Markets Branch Australian Energy Regulator GPO Box 520 Melbourne VIC 3001.

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