Following the release of our Statement of Expectations the AER called on retailers to provide additional data on a voluntary basis to enable us to have visibility of the effect of COVID-19 on the retail energy market.
This is to allow us to act quickly and support the market where we may need to. This additional data is a subset of that already provided by retailers as part of the normal quarterly reporting cycle, but on a more frequent basis.
The data provides a high-level summary of changes in the retail market and we will publish updates weekly.
The data published today does not yet allow us to draw any specific conclusions on the effect of COVID-19 at this stage because, amongst other things, data sets are incomplete, debt levels have a lag time of over 90 days, and payment plan and hardship data does not pick up alternative deferred payment options being offered by some retailers.
On 27 March we published our Statement of Expectations of energy businesses: Protecting consumers and the market during COVID-19 to make clear our priorities and expectations of businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Statement of Expectations contains a set of principles designed to ensure retailers continue to provide safe and reliable supply of energy to homes and businesses, and to support both residential and small business customers experiencing financial stress.
In support of the Statement of Expectations, on 17 April the AER sent a letter to retailers in National Energy Customer Framework jurisdictions seeking additional data in support of the Statement. The Essential Services Commission of Victoria sent a letter to retailers in its jurisdiction seeking similar data. AER and Commission staff continue to work closely on observations arising from the respective data sets.