Energy billing transparency publishedBest practices and voluntary standards to improve billing transparency

Energy billing transparency published

energy billing transparency

Energy billing transparency has always been a problem, now Ofgem have recently published guidance on non-domestic best practices and voluntary standards to improve billing transparency for non-domestic customers.

It states that the guidance is the first part of a staged approach to improving bill transparency in the non-domestic market. Ofgem notes, however, that the guidance should not be seen as a template or instruction, but instead as a synthesis of research on the subject that can inform suppliers’ own information gathering.

The first section of the guidance focuses on the presentation of commodity and non-commodity costs to customers, and voluntary standards that suppliers can adhere to. It sets out explanations for different non-commodity costs, such as network and metering charges, environmental and social obligation costs, and third-party service fees, and suggests that suppliers should explain what proportion of each relevant cost makes up the unit rate and standing charge.

Consumer groups suggested this could be done by showing this information as a percentage. It indicates that suppliers do not need to break down these individual costs but can do so if they feel it is appropriate.

The second section concerns the best practices for bills, with Ofgem noting it wants suppliers to use the guidance to build on discussions they have with their customers as they work to improve bill transparency. For all non-domestic customers, it states that best practice would be to signpost toward the Ofgem website on bills and encourage suppliers to provide the same information on their own websites.

Another principle is that billing monthly or quarterly can support customers in understanding their usage and help prevent them falling into debt. The guidance also lists some best practices in relation to smaller business customers, such as providing a graph to show customers’ usage, clearly marking whether customers are in debt or credit and providing a clear explanation to customers when any charges occur.

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