PIAC responded to the Australian Energy Market Commission’s (AEMC) consultation on its Reducing Customers’ Switching Times draft rule determination.
PIAC broadly supports the AEMC’s draft determination and considers it will contribute to better consumer outcomes by reducing switching times for customers wishing to change electricity retailers.
We highlight that increased use of bill estimates are likely under the new procedures and that this may result in customers being overcharged more often. We register concern that the existing safeguard may be insufficient to ensure customers are compensated for overcharging in this context. As such, we stress the AER and AEMO should monitor undercharging and overcharging, the accuracy of estimated reads, and how losing retailers are handling switching customers’ existing bill debt. Furthermore, we suggest retailers should be required to report to the AER the numbers of under and overestimates and whether true-ups are being delivered and within the timeframe. We recommend, the AEMC should consider whether any changes to the rules are needed to ensure this monitoring and reporting takes place effectively.