COTA Australia Submission on Developing Better Bills

COTA Australia welcomed the opportunity to respond to the Australian Energy Regulator’s (AER) consultation on the Development of a Better Bills Guideline. In our submission we voice full support for the AER’s creation of a Guideline that would ensure bills meet the needs of consumers, now and into the future, in an efficient way that minimises cost and enables industry innovation.

Our submission proposes that many of the difficulties associated with current retailers’ bills would be overcome if greater attention were paid to energy bills’ language, presentation, salience and structure. We also stress the importance of standardising terminology across retailers for common bill elements and terms. It is our view this would not only assist consumers to better understand and question the information presented, but also facilitate more informed comparison of offers from different retailers.

We also suggest bill shock could be largely eliminated by permitting consumers to move to more frequent payment cycles and payment in advance. Regarding future developments, our submission advocates for individual customers having access to tools which would enable them to design a bill that complements their information needs.  COTA Australia acknowledges and thanks our Energy Advocates for their comprehensive engagement with the consultation and their extensive contribution to our submission.