The 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 and 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 a proposal to prohibit the use of estimated meter reads and require actual reads to occur every three months; and 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,” the AEMC said.
“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.”
This proposed rule change is part of a package of initiatives from ministers following the Australian Government’s roundtable discussions with energy retailers last year.
Submissions on the consultation paper are due by June 14.