In November 2017, Treasury released a Consultation Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) on Paper Billing and the associated fees charged to customers. Concern has been raised that some consumers may pay paper billing fees our of necessity, because they do not have the ability to access digital bills. The RIS aims to better understand the impact of making regulatory changes to how and if the fee can be charged from both a consumer and business perspective.
AGL have a number of exemptions on charging a paper bill fee, specifically aimed at protecting customers who may be limited in their ability to receive electronic communications. Some of these exemptions are applied automatically (ie for concession card holders) and some exemptions need communication from a customer before they can be applied (ie for customers who do not have internet access).
We currently charge $1.75 to send a paper bill and contend that it would not be appropriate to pass this cost onto customers who have elected to receive their bill via the lower cost and more environmentally friendly digital channel. In the absence of the fee, this cost would be included in the overall price of energy meaning all customers would be at least partially contributing to this cost, regardless of their channel selections.
See our full submission here.