New energy rule to curb bill shock

Joint media release with NSW Minister for Resources and NSW Minister for Energy The Hon. Don Harwin MLC

Gas and electricity retailers will be required to notify customers of price changes at least five days before they take effect as a result of a new rule following a final determination made by the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) today.

This important rule change will reduce the financial shock of higher than expected bills and ensure customers have time to shop around for a better and fairer deal.

Currently, gas and electricity retailers are not obliged to inform customers of price changes until their next bill, which can be months after the price change has occurred and can result in customers paying much more than they expected or have budgeted for.

The new rule will commence on 1 February 2019.

The AEMC has also recommended the introduction of civil penalty provisions if a retailer does not comply with these new obligations.

The final AEMC determination endorses key elements of a proposal made by the Australian and New South Wales governments in February. The AEMC has recognised that the rules needed to change to ensure customers get a better and fairer deal.

Delivering more affordable energy for Australian households is the Australian Government's number one priority, and these new rules complement actions already taken as part of its commitment to Australian households, including:

  • A rule change requiring energy retailers to notify their customers when their discounts are about to finish or change;
  • A rule change to allow customers to stop energy discounting practices that can leave customers worse off; and
  • A rule change proposal to require retailers to accept self reads instead of estimated reads, to reduce the risk of bill shock.