Last year we found competition in the NSW retail electricity market continued to develop. However, there was scope to improve customer engagement in the market, particularly for vulnerable and disadvantaged customers. We recommended that further measures be introduced to make it easier for customers to compare market offers and identify the best offer for their circumstances.
Since we completed last year’s review, the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) is reviewing the information that retailers must provide to customers to help them compare offers, and its price comparison website, energymadeeasy.gov.au.
The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) has also made new rules to protect customers. From 1 July 2018 retailers will be required to notify customers when any discounts end, and they will no longer be able to offer misleading ‘discounted’ deals that are effectively higher than equivalent standing offers. The AEMC is also considering whether to require retailers to give advance notice to customers of price changes.
This year, we are particularly interested in stakeholders’ views on the following:
- Are there other measures that would make it easier for customers to shop around?
- Do customers have particular concerns about competition between gas retailers, or outcomes for gas customers?
- Are there other information sources to consider in assessing costs and cost drivers, particularly in the gas industry?
We invite interested parties to make a submission to IPART by Friday 3 August.