Retail energy market update
13 February 2014
The AER has published retail performance data for Quarter 1, 2013-14. For the first time it includes performance data for energy retailers active in New South Wales, which commenced the Retail Law on 1 July 2013.
Summary of data:
- There were small decreases in customer switching in NSW, Victoria, South Australia and the ACT in the September 2013 quarter. By contrast, the number of electricity customers switching in Queensland almost doubled between the June and September quarters. The number of customers on standard and market energy retail contracts remained constant. There were no significant changes to the number of active retailers in the market.
- Less than 1 per 100 customers in the ACT made a complaint to their energy retailer, whereas in South Australia around 2.5 per 100 customers made a complaint. Billing, prices, and overcharging were the reasons for most complaints to retailers.
- The proportion of residential customers with electricity debt varied from around 3 per cent in the ACT and Tasmania to over 5 per cent in South Australia. The proportion of residential customers with gas debt varied from around 4 per cent in South Australia to 6 per cent in the ACT.
- Average residential electricity debt levels varied from $617 in South Australia to $771 in the ACT, and for gas, from $261 in South Australia to $485 in the ACT.
- The number of customers on payment plans increased in South Australia – by 14 per cent and 47 per cent for electricity and gas customers respectively since the last quarter. Over 3 per cent of residential electricity customers and 2 per cent of residential gas customers in South Australia are on a payment plan. By comparison, 2.6 per cent of residential electricity customers and 1 per cent of residential gas customers are on a payment plan in NSW.
- The number of customers on hardship programs also increased in South Australia – by 11 per cent for electricity and gas customers since the last quarter. Almost 1 per cent of residential electricity customers in South Australia are on a hardship program. Around 0.6 per cent of residential electricity customers in NSW are on a hardship program.
- In NSW 8976 residential electricity customers (0.3 per cent) and 1203 residential gas customers (0.1 per cent) were disconnected for non-payment in the quarter. A greater proportion of residential customers were disconnected in South Australia – 0.36 per cent of electricity customers and 0.18 per cent of gas customers.