The report applies behavioural insights to the design of energy bills and will inform the AER’s development of a new Better Bills Guideline.
The policy context: In March 2021, the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) released its final rule determination requiring the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) to publish a Better Bills Guideline for retailers determining bill content and billing requirements (AEMC 2021). The rule determination states that the bill objective is to provide billing information that enables small customers to easily understand:
a) Payment amounts, dates and methods;
b) How their bill is calculated and whether it conforms to their customer retail contract;
c) Their energy consumption and production, and related costs and revenue to assist with:
- Using energy efficiently;
- Comparing their customer retail contract with other energy offers available to them;
- Considering options for energy supply other than through the distribution system;
d) How to dispute or raise a query in relation to their bill;
e) How to access interpreter services and seek financial assistance; and
f) How to report a fault or emergency
The Better Bills Guideline is a result of a rule change request from the Honourable Angus Taylor MP, Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction to amend the National Energy Retail Rules (NERR).
The rule change requires the AER to develop an enforceable guideline intended to:
- simplify energy bills so households and small business owners can better understand and manage their energy usage and costs,
- find a better energy deal, thereby driving improvements in competition.
The Interim Report, released in September, presented results from 6 survey experiments involving over 14,000 Australians. The Final Report expands on the Interim Report by adding in survey results, insights from qualitative research, and additional analysis of the survey experiments.
BETA’s research focused on 3 questions:
- Bill content: What is the priority content for inclusion on the bill?
- Bill simplification: How do we reduce information overload in bills?
- Bill comprehension: How do we maximise comprehension of bill content?