AGL recently responded to the AER’s Better Bills Guideline (Billing Guideline) consultation. The Billing Guideline will replace existing bill content requirements for energy retailers operating in the National Energy Customer Framework (NECF). The formulation of the Billing Guideline follows the Australian Energy Market Commission’s rule change in March 2021 requiring the AER to develop a mandatory billing guideline setting out how retailers must prepare and issue bills to residential and small customers. During this consultation, the AER shared with industry stakeholders a number of research findings and outcomes from studies it had undertaken which will likely form the basis of the AER’s Billing Guideline.
Under the current billing regime in NECF (NSW, QLD and SA) energy retailers must comply with 24 separate bill content requirements contained in Section 25(1) of the National Energy Retail Rules (NERR). The Billing Guideline which will be developed, administrated and enforced by the AER, is intended to replace the separate billing requirements under the NERR, although the substance of the Billing Guideline and what elements of the current framework will be retained or removed remain unknown at the time of consultation.
As part of AGL’s response to the Billing Guideline consultation, we urge the AER to take a principles based approach to regulating bills in energy retail while moving away from heavily prescriptive regulations to further promote innovation in the way retailers issue and display bills. AGL promotes a flexible approach to regulating energy bills with requirements that reflect consumer preferences and can keep up with changing behaviour trends in the market.