More Competition, More Choice And Downward Pressure On Prices As Electricity Is Deregulated

Member for Baulkham Hills David Elliott said that the removal of retail electricity price regulation came into effect on 1 July, with NSW households and businesses to benefit from greater competition and choice in the State’s electricity market.

“The Government’s decision, first announced on 7 April 2014, will fully empower NSW customers to take control of their electricity bills and place downward pressure on the cost of living,” Mr Elliott said.

“Under this historic reform, customers will be placed firmly in the driving seat and will reap the rewards as competition brings more retailers into NSW that will offer better deals to secure and retain their business.”

Mr Elliott said around 65 per cent of NSW households and small businesses, or around two million customers, have already made the switch from a regulated electricity contract to a competitive market contract in recent years.

“This includes some 165,000 who have made the switch since the Government first announced its reform,” Mr Elliott said.

“Now the remaining 35 per cent of customers can choose what is best for them and take control of their electricity bills.”

“From today those customers who have not switched over to a competitive market deal will automatically be transferred to a ‘transitional tariff’.”

“For most households on a transitional tariff their bill will now be 1.5% lower in 2014/15 compared to the 2013/14 regulated price.  However, many market offers may be even cheaper.”

“This means that for the first time in 15 years NSW electricity customers who were still on the regulated price before today will see a reduction on their bill.”

Mr Elliott said the decision to deregulate the electricity market followed reports by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) and the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) that the NSW electricity market is competitive and regulation is unnecessary.  The AEMC reported that regulation may be inhibiting price competition.

The AEMC also highlighted a St Vincent de Paul study that found recent discounts offered by electricity retailers would save an average customer $300 to $400 per year, off an average bill of $2,500.

“Importantly, the removal of retail electricity price regulation will not change access to
energy rebates, protection laws or the quality of customers’ electricity supply,” Mr Elliott said.

“IPART will continue to play a role monitoring the NSW electricity market and analysing
competition indicators, and will report back to the NSW Government each year for a three year period.

“I urge households and small businesses to shop around for the best deal out there.  Make a free comparison on the Australian Energy Regulator’s website at www.energymadeeasy.gov.au.

“Get active, get online, and get a better deal.”