The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) is seeking stakeholder feedback on a rule change request from Federal Energy Minister, Josh Frydenberg, to reduce the risk of customers being exposed to the financial shock of inaccurately estimated bills.

The proposed rule would allow customers to have their electricity or gas bill based on their own reading of the meter. This could reduce the risk of customers:

  • being exposed to higher bills based on overestimated energy use
  • having to repay significant sums due to previous bills based on underestimated energy use

The rule request is being considered together with two other requests related to inaccurate estimated meter reads. The additional requests are:

  • Ms Kirsty Johnson proposes to prohibit the use of estimated meter reads and require actual reads to occur every three months
  • Dr Daryl Dodt seeks more accurate estimates where the customer has installed a solar system

Under the National Energy Retail Rules, electricity and gas retailers must base customers’ energy bills on an actual reading of the meter if one is available.

Retailers may base bills on an estimated read if an actual read is not provided. Where an estimated meter read is inaccurate, such as where there are long term issues accessing a meter to take a read, it can result in bill shock for customers.

Submissions on the consultation paper are due by 14 June 2018.

This proposed rule change is part of a package of initiatives from ministers following the Australian Government’s round table discussions with energy retailers in 2017.

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