The commission has issued draft rules for consultation which would require retailers to include elements of basic energy usage information, as well as simplified and standardised terminology.

“Stakeholders generally agree that consumers find language and terminology confusing,”
the commission said. “Many consider that improvement is needed and would be likely to
significantly help consumers understand their own bills.”

The new approach comes during a technology revolution in the energy sector which is driving major changes to the traditional relationship between retailers and their customers.

Smart metering and in-home appliances have led to creation of a raft of new contract options for customers which includes allowing the retailer to reduce consumers’ energy usage at periods of peak demand – such as limiting the consumption of power-hungry devices like air conditions – in return for cheaper rates.

The commission said the proposed changes would replace the one-size-fits-all guidelines that apply across all energy bills with a requirement for cost and usage information that would help consumers “participate in the market and consider investing in self-supply energy options like solar and batteries”.

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