Prior to 2014, IPART set a regulated retail price for electricity customers. Retailers could offer different prices to customers, but customers who did not accept a “market offer” were charged the regulated rates set by IPART.
IPART has not set regulated electricity prices since 2014, which means that all retailers set their own prices.
Customers should shop around for a better deal using the Australian Government’s website.
When competition is working well, retailers should not be able to increase prices above their costs – otherwise they will be outcompeted by other retailers and lose customers.
This should drive better outcomes than regulated prices, because retailers have better information than a regulator about the costs of supplying electricity to their customers. Retailers will go out of business if the regulator sets prices too low, but customers will pay more than they should if the regulator sets prices too high.
Now that customers are relying on competition to keep prices as low as possible for customers, it is important to understand whether competition is effective. Therefore, the NSW Government has tasked IPART with monitoring the performance and competitiveness of the electricity retail market for small customers.
As the Market Monitor, we are required under s234A of the NSW National Energy Law to report annually to the Minister. Our 2017 report will be our third annual monitoring report on the retail electricity market.
We must also carry out a review of any other matter related to the gas or electricity market if requested in writing by the Minister by under s234B of the NSW National Energy Law.