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A draft determination has been made by the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC), suggesting that consumers be given the right to have an inaccurately estimated energy bill adjusted in accordance with their own reading of a gas or electricity meter.

Minister for Environment and Energy, Josh Frydenberg, said, “This draft determination endorses the core elements of the Turnbull Government’s rule change proposal made in March, requesting the AEMC improve the National Energy Retail Rules to take action on bills based on inaccurately estimated usage.”

“The proposed amendments to the rules will reduce the risk of customers being exposed to the financial shock of significant under or overcharging due to an inaccurately estimated bill.”

Beyond requiring retailers to adjust an estimated bill with a self-read at the customer’s request, the proposed changes will also introduce an obligation on retailers to inform customers of their right to request an adjusted bill.

The AEMC has also recommended the introduction of civil penalty provisions if a retailer does not comply with these new obligations.

“While some retailers already offer their customers the ability to submit a self-reading of their meter, these changes will ensure everyone has the ability to rectify an inaccurately estimated bill,” Mr Frydenberg said.

These new rules aim to complement actions already taken by the Federal Government as part of the plan to deliver more affordable energy for Australian households, including:

  • A rule change requiring energy retailers to notify their customers when their discounts are about to finish or change
  • A rule change proposal requiring retailers to provide their customers with advance notice of price changes
  • A rule change proposal to reduce the time it takes to install new meters.

Lauren ‘LJ’ Butler is the Assistant Editor of Utility magazine and has been part of the team at Monkey Media since 2018.

After completing a Bachelor of Media, Communications and Professional Writing at the University of Wollongong in 2014, and prior to writing about the utility sector, LJ worked as a Journalist and Sub Editor across the horticulture, hardware, power equipment, construction and accommodation industries with publishers such as Glenvale Publications, Multimedia Publishing and Bean Media Group.

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