My electricity bill looks different!
Have you noticed that your electricity bill looks different? You're not the only one! New regulations have required every retailer to overhaul their bills in October 2023.
Electricity bills from all retailers in Australia have had a significant transformation in their design and content in October 2023, due to new guidelines implemented by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER).
The changes are outlined in the Better Bills Guideline, Version 2, available on the AER website.
These changes are intended to make bills clearer, more informative, and more helpful to consumers, allowing for better decision-making regarding their energy usage and retailer choices.
What Has Changed?
The information presented in your electricity bills is now structured into two main tiers:
- Tier 1 information must appear on the first page of a paginated bill or at the beginning of an unpaginated bill. Retailers must not include information other than Tier 1 information on the first page of a paginated bill or ahead of Tier 1 information on an unpaginated bill.
- Tier 2 information must be included in a bill but not on the first page of a paginated bill or ahead of Tier 1 information on an unpaginated bill.
Tier 1 information
Tier 1 information is the key information that must appear on page one of each bill:
- Customer name and address of the premises to which the energy is being supplied as well as the customer’s billing address, if different;
- Amount due and due date;
- bill issue date;
- payment methods;
- customer account number;
- Meter details:
- Electricity bills - National Metering Identifier (NMI)
- Gas bills - Meter Installation Registration Number (MIRN) OR Delivery Point Identifier (DPI)
- A Deemed Better Offer message
- Retailer identifying information;
- Phone number for the customer to:
- make account enquiries and complaints;
- contact the relevant energy ombudsman;
- he name and telephone number of the relevant distributor for the customer to make fault inquiries and report emergencies;
- invoice number (if applicable);
- where a final bill is issued, a notice that it is the final bill using the exact words ‘final bill’
Tier 2 information
Tier 2 information must be included in a bill, but not on the first page of a paginated bill, and not ahead of Tier 1 information on an unpaginated bill.
Tier 2 information is:
- A plan summary
- A summary of tariffs, charges and charging windows as applicable, which must be included in either the 'plan summary' or 'understand your bill' section ;
- A breakdown of how the amount due was calculated (the understand your bill section), including by reference to billing period (date-to-date) and number of days; previous and current meter reading; usage per tariff type; rates/tariffs, ; charges; credits; discounts; amounts deducted, credited or received under a government-funded energy charge rebate, concession or relief scheme or under a payment plan; GST; and Solar exports.
- average daily usage and exports, in kWh or MJ (daily average);
- contact details to enable a small customer to access financial assistance; interpreter services (in community languages); and services for customers with hearing or speech impairments;
- whether the bill amount is based on actual meter data or on an estimation of the customer’s energy consumption. Where a bill amount is based on an estimation of the customer’s consumption of energy, the bill must state that the relevant amount is ‘based on an estimation’, not use an abbreviation of this like the letter ‘E’ and include a statement on how to access the guidance and requirements for a customer-supplied meter reading.
Retailers may also include additional information beyond what is required in Tier 1 and Tier 2, provided this information is not included on the first page or ahead of Tier 2 information on a paginated bill or ahead of Tier 1 and Tier 2 information on an unpaginated bill.
This recent overhaul of Australia's electricity bills is a welcome change for consumers. These changes are not merely cosmetic and have been designed to provide greater clarity and control for energy consumers in an increasingly complex market.