The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) has introduced a new rule, preventing retailers from offering misleading discounts on energy deals.
Energy retailers sometimes attract customers with energy offers claiming large discounts. However, the discounts are based on higher rates than the retailer's standard rates. In such a situation, the consumer gains nothing, and can even end up worse off.
By preventing retailers from attempting to confuse consumers, the new rule provides them with the confidence that only a genuine discount will be offered.
The AEMC has also recommended strengthening the Australian Energy Regulator's (AER) ability to enforce how retailers present their offers to consumers, by making questionable offers subject to appropriate penalties. In other words, energy marketing will face the same restrictions as other forms of product marketing.
The new rule complements rule change proposals already taken by the government, as part of the plan to deliver more affordable energy for Australian households, including:
Energy retailers must notify customers when their discounts are about to finish or change.
Retailers must provide customers with advance notice of price changes.
Consumers should be allowed to submit their own readings of their energy meters.
The time taken to install new meters should be reduced.