Australian households and small businesses have a right to expect that their retailers will be transparent about their pricing, will work with them proactively to ensure they’re on the right deal and will help them manage their energy use. The fact that the current retail energy market is in many ways defined by the converse – by complexity and a lack of clarity about offers and prices or ‘noise’ is driving recent government interventions.
Energy Consumers Australia sees value in consumers being notified in advance of price changes. For this reason, we support the Proposed Rule of Advanced Notice of Price Changes. However, it is not a costless activity – the retailer and, ultimately, consumers pay for any extra communication, so it is critical that positive consumer outcomes are achieved from the Proposed Rule. This Proposed Rule and wider market design considerations need to be developed with an empirically derived understanding of the way consumers actually make their decisions while recognising that the choice of supplier is only one variable in managing the energy bill.
It will take significant, very concrete improvements in the way electricity and gas services are structured and priced to give consumers confidence that the energy market is working in their interests and enable governments to step back from further intervention.
The full submission can be read here.