This submission responds to the Australian Energy Market Commission’s (AEMC) Consultation Paper, National Energy Retail Amendment (Retail price variations in market retail contracts) Rule 2014 (the Consultation Paper). The Consultation Paper seeks stakeholder’s views on a change to the National Energy Retail Rules (NERR) proposed by the Consumer Action Law Centre and the Consumer Utilities Advocacy Centre. The proposed rule change seeks to prohibit retailers from including terms in their contracts that allow them to change prices during the fixed term or fixed benefit period of retail energy contracts. In the submission, PIAC supports the proposed rule change and argues that it would benefit consumers. PIAC argues that where consumers understand the true cost of a contract, they are more able to make informed decisions. This, in turn, increases competitive pressure on retailers and improves the efficiency of the retail market. PIAC also argues that if the AEMC rejects the proposed rule change, it should introduce other changes to the NERR that allow consumers to break contracts without an exit fee where the price has increased, and to better explain possible price movements during a contract term before consumers sign up to such a supply agreement.
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