Reducing bill shocks by allowing meter self-reads

On 25 October 2018, the Australian Energy Markets Commission (AEMC) made a more preferable final rule to make it easier for small customers to fix inaccurate estimated bills by providing their own reading of an electricity or gas meter to their retailer.  From 1 February 2019, new retailers must:

- Let customers submit their own reading of the meter to calculate electricity or gas bills, if a meter reader hasn’t been able to do it
- Tell customers who have been sent a bill based on an estimated meter read that they can provide their own meter reading if they want
- Adjust the customer’s bill based on the customer’s estimated read, as long as it complies with requirements (for example, the customer’s reading must be clear and not too late)

Customers can let the retailer know via phone, photo or via portal their meter reading.  

The final rule also recommends new civil penalties, for example a fine, if retailers fail to comply with the new obligations.

In June this year, QCOSS made a submission to the consultation process. This submission was mentioned 12 times throughout the AEMC's final determination.

AEMC have created an easy to read infographic about the new rule here.

This rule change is important as estimated bills have the potential to cause hardship especially if they are significantly under or over estimated.