Retail energy market update
17 December 2015
The AER has published retail performance data for Quarter 1, 2015-16.
Summary of data:
- The number of customers switching to other energy retailers slightly increased in most jurisdictions for most fuel types in the September quarter.
- The number of complaints to retailers varies across each jurisdiction, with most residential complaints made in South Australia and New South Wales (around 3.5 per cent of customers), and followed by Queensland (2.7 per cent), the ACT (1.4 per cent) and Tasmania (0.9 per cent).
- In most jurisdictions and for most fuel types, the number of customers repaying energy debt (without the assistance of a hardship program) has decreased in the last 12 months. In Queensland just over 2 per cent of residential electricity and gas customers are repaying an energy debt.
- Average debt levels (excluding hardship program customers) were consistent with previous quarters. Average residential electricity debt levels were $562 in Queensland, $602 in New South Wales, $720 in South Australia, $701 in Tasmania and $821 in the ACT. Average residential gas debt levels were $329 in Queensland, $456 in New South Wales, $381 in South Australia and $464 in the ACT.
- Around 2.5 per cent of electricity customers are using payment plans to repay debt in South Australia and New South Wales. This compares with 1.9 per cent in Queensland, 1.1 per cent in Tasmania and 0.5 per cent in the ACT.
- Generally fewer customers use payment plans to repay gas debt. There are more gas customers on payment plans in South Australia (1.9 per cent) and New South Wales (1.7 per cent), followed by the ACT (0.7 per cent) and Queensland (0.3 per cent).
- Hardship programs are most commonly used in South Australia, with 1.6 per cent of electricity customers and 1.1 per cent of gas customers receiving this additional assistance. In New South Wales 0.8 per cent of electricity customers and around 0.4 per cent of gas customers are on hardship programs. In Queensland 0.8 per cent of electricity customers and 0.2 per cent of gas customers are on hardship programs.
- In Tasmania, the number of electricity customers on hardship programs has increased to almost 2,000 customers (0.8 per cent). In the ACT, only 0.4 per cent of electricity customers and 0.5 per cent of gas customers are on a hardship program.
- Around 53 per cent of customers (electricity and gas) that exited hardship programs were excluded or removed for not making the agreed repayments. Around 27 per cent of electricity customers and 20 per cent of gas customers successfully completed the hardship program, and around 20 per cent of electricity customers and 27 per cent of gas customers transferred to other retailers.
- The number of residential electricity and gas disconnections for non-payment was relatively consistent with the September 2014 quarter; however there was around 20 per cent more disconnections in South Australia in the September 2015 quarter. In Queensland 7,013 residential electricity customers and 471 gas customers were disconnected for non-payment.