PIAC responded to the AEMC’s estimated meter reads draft rule determination. PIAC supports the draft rule determination, considering it an important opportunity to address long-standing issues with the way that retail energy bills are formulated and presented to consumers. However, PIAC considers it does not go far enough.
PIAC contends that the draft determination should go further in requiring retailers to fulfil their obligations, meet consumer expectations, and facilitate and communicate greater accuracy in their billing practices. In a number of areas, the Commission has elected not to include more specific direction and requirements, which PIAC contends is likely to undermine the intent of the rule and significantly lessen its likely impact.
PIAC highlights a number of areas where the final determination could provide stronger direction that would better meet the intent of the initial rule-change proposals. These are as follow:
- Stronger incentive for retailers to undertake and facilitate actual reads to reduce the instances of customers receiving multiple, consecutive estimated bills and reducing the burden of ensuring accurate bills on consumers rather than the retailer.
- Stronger specifications around the calculation, use and consumer information of estimates. PIAC recommends that the final rule include more specific direction to ensure bills based on estimates are clearly identified to consumers and the method and justification for estimates are more clearly outlined.
- Prescriptions regarding the use of customer provided self-reads. That there must be explicit requirements that retailer processes for customer provision of self-reads are accessible and not unnecessarily restricted or limited by prescription of the use of technology or format.