One in three Aussies are ditching the big three energy retailers

By Ceyda Erem ·

In 2019 the country welcomed 11 new energy retailers to the market, giving Australians more choice than ever before. 

And it look like many households are taking advantage of their options, with the Australian Energy Market Commission's (AEMC) Retail Competition Review finding that one in three Aussies have moved on from the big three to smaller players for their electricity supply. 

Surprisingly, the data revealed that in South Australia and South-East Queensland, the big three were outnumbered and no longer hold the biggest market share. 

This could be explained by the fact that switching rates were at a record high of 24.4%, while Victoria and South-East Queensland each had the highest switching rates of 29%. 

“Last year we saw many regulation changes enter the market that were focused on giving energy customers more transparency and fairer prices,” said Mozo energy expert, Nathan Warne.

“Additionally, smaller retailers may be offering customers more competitive deals than the big 3 and are pulling out all the stops to gain new customers.”

‘Socket parity’ not that far away for solar 

Other than the record breaking number of Aussies making the switch, households that use solar power are also set to see the benefits of their investment and are expected to purchase additional solar features, like battery storage in the future. 

According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the average cost of a household PV solar and battery storage is expected to reach ‘socket parity’ next year. 

Socket parity occurs when it costs a household powered by solar the same amount per kWh to produce its own power than if they were to access it from the grid. 

The latest Energy Consumers Association survey conducted in October 2018 found that 6% of households with solar PV are considering purchasing a battery within the next 12 months, while more than majority (53%) said they would be doing the same later on. 

Law changes needed to keep up with rapid technology 

But while energy customers are reaping the benefits of advancing technology, the AEMC has asked that the National Energy Consumer Framework (NECF), a guideline that provides protection for customers accessing essential energy services, be updated to complement the latest advances. 

The aim of the change is to prevent out of date regulations and laws stopping customers from benefiting from an innovative product. 

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

Finally, although the AEMC acknowledge the many retailers who go beyond the bare minimum when it comes to protecting vulnerable customers facing hardship, the regulatory body still believes more can be done.

For instance, increased funding for communities and organisations to improve customers’ energy literacy and to help understand financial schemes offered by the government and retailers. 

And to assist those experiencing hardship, the AEMC has recommended retailers identify these customers earlier by adjusting their programs. 

So if you’d like to be among the Aussies who’ve made the switch to a better value energy, get started by entering your postcode below.

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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.