Simpler energy bills on the way with first Better Bills Guideline draft

Utility bill

Simpler energy bills are on the way to customers with the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) releasing its draft Better Bills Guideline for consultation, with more than 14,000 customers to be included in testing along with retailers and consumer groups. 

The draft guideline proposes a tiered approach to information, with information considered ‘tier one’ importance such as name, address, payment amount and retailer contact to be located on page one of every energy bill, or in the most prominent location online.

“Bill clarity has been a big issue for a long time and it is great to see the AEC taking this initiative forward,” Mozo expert Peter Marshall said. 

The AER also outlined five key principles that retailers will be expected to follow, which apply to all billing information:

  • Use simple language
  • Make the bill easy to understand 
  • Make the most important information the most prominent 
  • Order the bill to make it easy to understand
  • Design with practices proven to enhance customer comprehension

What is the Better Bills Guideline?

The Better Bills Guideline was first announced by the AER back in September, after the Australian Energy Market Commission ruled in March that a mandatory billing guideline must be introduced for retailers to follow. 

In presenting the first draft of the guidelines, the AER acknowledged the importance of a regulated bill for customers in order to help provide greater clarity and an opportunity to save money.

What is the Better Bills Guideline timeframe? 

Consultation on the draft guidelines is open until 31 January 2022, with the Better Bills Guideline to be finalised by 1 April 2022. Retailers will need to begin implementing the guideline between 4 August 2022 and 31 March 2023

What states will the Better Bills Guideline apply in? 

With the AER regulating the energy markets in New South Wales, Tasmania, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory, residents in those areas can expect to see the changes enforced on their bills in the near future.

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