Energy
Electricity

Monitoring the retail energy markets during 2017-18

Status
In progress
Start Date
May 2018
End Date
Nov 2018
What

IPART has commenced its annual review of the performance and competitiveness of the retail electricity and gas markets in NSW for the most recent financial year.

Our report on 2017-18 will be our fourth annual monitoring report on the retail electricity market. But this is the first time that we have reviewed competition in the retail gas market since gas prices were deregulated on 1 July 2017.

As part of this review, the NSW Minister for Energy and Utilities has also asked us to report on:

  • electricity and gas price movements from July 2018, and whether any such changes reflect efficient costs in a competitive market, and
  • whether retailers are delivering acceptable levels of customer communication and service in their delivery of metering services.
Why

IPART used to regulate retail prices for gas and electricity customers.  Retailers could offer different prices to customers, but customers who did not accept a “market offer” paid the regulated rates set by IPART.

However, now that prices are deregulated, IPART reviews the performance of the market each year to assess how competition is working under section 234A of the National Energy Retail Law (NSW)

Who

We are looking at outcomes for residential and small business customers in NSW

When

We must report to the Minister for Energy and Utilities by 30 November 2018.

What Next

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:

  1. Are there other measures that would make it easier for customers to shop around?
  2. Do customers have particular concerns about competition between gas retailers, or outcomes for gas customers?
  3. 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.

Key Contact
Jessica Robinson
Email
02 9290 8405
Have Your Say
IPART routinely seeks public input into our reviews via submissions, public hearings, stakeholder workshops and community surveys.
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