BETA testing of energy bill clarity

The Behavioural Economics Team of the Australian Government (BETA) has partnered with the AER to apply insights to the design of energy bills.

BETA has determined that consumers find bills complex and confusing.

Key research questions were posted in 2 online samples involving over 14,000 Australians, including 6 randomised controlled trials.

Bill design simplification

BETA presented several bill design variations. Their findings include:

  • The main purpose of energy bills is to enable customers to make a payment.
  • None of the alternative designs performed better than the current ‘invoice-style’ table.
  • A well-designed and more detailed bill did not reduce comprehension.
  • Including plain English definitions for technical terms had no positive impact on comprehension.
  • A bill designed so that some information was only available via an online link did not encourage follow-through.
  • Simple summaries helped consumers to better understand their plan. This, however, did not improve the likelihood they would choose a better deal.


BETA has published an interim report with a full report to be published later in the year. To read more, see the full list of BETA’s initial findings.