Energy Consumers Australia (ECA) appreciates the opportunity to provide comments on the Australian Energy Regulator’s (AER) Customer price information Issues Paper of September 2017 (the Issues Paper).
The Issues Paper requests consumer views on issues related to how consumers can understand retail energy contracts and compare the relative benefits of their current arrangements and others in the market. As the Issues Paper notes, this AER process is taking place against a backdrop of other very significant retail reform processes, in the form of both the Prime Minister’s retail interventions and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Review of the Retail Electricity Market.
Our response to the Issue Paper, set out in reference to the specific questions, is provided below. In overall terms, we encourage the development of an effective Comparison Tool and Comparison Rate, supported by Energy Price Fact Sheets, all of which are both simple and appropriate to facilitate easier consumer choice in electricity offers. These tools, together with resourcing for the AER’s Energy Made Easy website are important steps to re-build confidence in the energy market.
In our view, behavioural insights will be critical to achieve optimal consumer outcomes and we welcome the involvement of the Behavioural Economics Team of Australian Government (BETA) in this important work.
The full submission can be read here.