How the new energy regulations have impacted the market two months on

Ceyda Erem

16 Sep 2019

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Just two months on from the rollout of the new energy pricing regulations, close to a million Aussie households across New South Wales, South Australia, south-east Queensland and Victoria have already started to see a difference in their electricity bills, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). 

On July 1, the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) launched the default market offer (DMO), which set to put an end to excessive electricity prices and move customers who were on high standing offers onto more affordable plans. 

The regulatory body today released its August 2019 electricity market report, which revealed that as of 1 July 2019, the average annual savings on standing offers now amount to between $130 and $430. 

“Prices of many standing offers have already fallen significantly, providing immediate and automatic savings for some households and small businesses,” said ACCC Chair, Rod Sims. 

“We are pleased about the positive changes in the electricity market so far, including a recent announcement of free energy advice tools for small businesses, but urge that other key recommendations be implemented if costs are to come down further.” 

The report also found that most electricity customers can further their savings by comparing advertised prices and shopping around the smaller electricity retailers. 

Another change that came into effect on July 1 was the way electricity products are presented to customers

Under the ACCC’s Electricity Retail Code, conditional discounts were instructed to be phased out, as they were deemed too complicated for customers to compare fairly. 

And in order to have a more like-for-like comparison, the reference price was introduced. The reference price then became a common benchmark for customers to refer back to when shopping around. 

“The new advertising requirements also replace previous advertisements with confusing ‘discounts’ which could not really be compared with one another,” said Sims. 

Smaller retailers deliver bigger savings 

Further price analysis by the ACCC has found that a number of small retailers offered cheaper plans than the ‘big three’. 

For an average household in NSW in the Ausgrid distribution zone on flat rates, the cheapest annual market offer from the big three retailers on July 12 2019 was $1,272, while the cheapest annual market offer from a small retailer was $1,177, a difference of $95. 

“Our report shows that households can find an even better deal, potentially saving hundreds of dollars a year, by shopping around and looking at the offers of some of the smaller retailers in the market,” Mr Sims said.

“We will continue to monitor the impact of these new reforms on prices and offers in the market, and retailer behaviour.”

So if you’d like to find out what offers are currently available with smaller retailers, head on over to our energy comparison tool

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