As outlined in both our Q1 Quarterly Wholesale Report and our Final Determination of the Default Market Offer last week, there continues to be volatility in the wholesale energy market resulting in added cost pressures on both retailers and consumers.
The AER is closely monitoring the situation in both the wholesale and retail markets and ensuring all participants are complying with the law and the rules.
Safeguards are in place to protect consumers including a price cap on standard default contracts, known as the default market offer, to protect consumers from unjustifiably high prices, as well as the Retailer of Last Resort scheme, designed to ensure that in the event of retailer failure, arrangements are in place to ensure that customers continue to receive electricity or gas supply. Under this scheme, the AER has the power to transfer customers to a new retailer.
In this current environment, it is especially important that customers engage with their retailers to ensure they are on the best energy plan for their individual circumstances.
The AER’s dedicated price comparison website Energy Made Easy is designed to make it easier for consumers to take control of their power bills. By entering in a few basic details or uploading their bill, the site allows customers to see what other retailers are offering and find the best plan for them.
Residential customers can currently save around $443 or 24% off their bill, and small businesses can save around $1,308 or 29% by switching.
The AER urges consumers in financial difficulty to reach out for support through payment plans and hardship programs that retailers must provide, and the AER enforces, under national energy retail rules.
Customers can also contact their retailer to ensure they are getting any concessions or rebates that they may be entitled to and agree a payment plan that they can afford.