A seesawing energy market: What went up (and down) in the 2018/19 financial year

By Ceyda Erem ·

As the year draws to a close, many Aussies will soon start drafting up their New Year resolutions, goals and plans for the new decade. 

But the end of the year is also a time for reflection and that’s exactly what the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) was all about in its Annual Retailer Markets report. 

According to the data, between June 2019 and September 2019, Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria witnessed a decline in median market offers, falling by 1%, 1% and 3% respectively.

NSW and VIC also had the biggest decline in median standing offers by 18% and 24%, which could be due to the regulation changes that came into effect earlier this year

Back in July, the AER announced that it would be introducing its new Default Market Offer (DMO), which imposed a price cap on the amount a retailer can charge customers on standing offers. 

Retailers cannot charge more than this set amount and are expected to advertise their market offers with reference to the DMO price. 

Regulation changes may also explain the rise in the number of Aussies who are now on market offers, with the numbers rising from 73% to 75% for electricity and 83% to 85% for gas. 

Big three continue to dominate the market but smaller retailers aren’t far behind 

The report also found that energy giants Origin, AGL and Energy Australia continue to dominate the energy market, owning 60.8% of the market in the 2018/19 financial year. Surprisingly, this percentage was actually down by 10.6% from 2017/18, where the total market share was 71.4%. 

“During the 2018/19 financial year, the country has welcomed 11 new electricity retailers to the market, which ultimately has given Aussies more choice,” said Mozo energy expert, Nathan Warne. 

“And as these retailers start to gain momentum, creating more competition within the market, I wouldn’t be surprised if the big three’s market share decreases even further, as smaller tiered retailers have now got customer numbers in the six figures.” 

Other retailers who also had a customer count within the six figure mark included Alinta Energy, Red Energy and Simply Energy.

Hardship programs on the rise across the country 

During the 2018/19 financial year, 1.13% of residential electricity customers were on a hardship program, increasing across all jurisdictions except Queensland. 

Sadly, the average electricity debt for a hardship customer increased significantly from the previous year, now totalling $1,305. 

Gas hardship programs weren’t far behind either, with the average gas debt hitting $674 for 0.65% of residential customers. 

Victorians are keener to switch than anywhere else 

With the energy industry undergoing a number of changes within the last year, the idea of switching energy retailers became more appealing to many Aussies around the country. 

In particular, Victoria had the highest rate of customers switching energy retailers, which is said to be due to a number of educational programs that help energy customers find a better deal. 

Overall, July, August and September were the peak months for switching during 2018/19 and reportedly there has been on a downward trend since. 

But whether you live in Victoria, South Australia or New South Wales, switching energy plans could save you big bucks. 

So if you’re ready to see how much you could be saving on your energy deal, enter your postcode below to get started.

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Ceyda Erem
Ceyda Erem
Money writer

Ceyda Erem is Mozo’s authority on Energy, as well as having broader expertise as a personal finance writer. She loves to put her researching and writing talents into stories that help our readers to make more informed financial choices, whether that’s about finding the best energy deal or writing about the latest sneaky bank tricks. Ceyda has a Bachelor of Arts (major in writing) from Macquarie University.