Retail energy market performance update for Quarter 1, 2016-17

Segment: 
Category: 
Retail energy market update
Release date: 
21 December 2016

Overview

The AER has published retail performance data for Q1 2016-17.

Summary of data:

  • The number of customers switching to other electricity retailers was consistent with last quarter. Gas switching rates were higher in most jurisdictions.
  • The number of complaints to retailers varies across each jurisdiction, with most residential complaints made in South Australia and New South Wales (3.5 per cent of customers), and followed by Queensland (2.9 per cent), the ACT (2.4 per cent) and Tasmania (0.9 per cent).
  • The number of customers repaying electricity debts (without the assistance of a hardship program) increased in South Australia and decreased in other jurisdictions. The number of customers repaying gas debts (without the assistance of a hardship program) decreased in New South Wales and the ACT and increased in South Australia and Queensland.
  • Average residential electricity debt levels (excluding hardship program customers) were increased from last quarter in all jurisdictions except the ACT. Average gas debt levels (excluding hardship program customers) increased from last quarter in all jurisdictions. except South Australia. Average residential electricity debt levels were:
    • $543 in Queensland
    • $624 in New South Wales
    • $773 in South Australia,
    • $785 in Tasmania and
    • $800 in the ACT.
  • Average residential gas debt levels were:
    • $343 in Queensland
    • $525 in New South Wales
    • $375 in South Australia and
    • $512 in the ACT.
  • All jurisdictions, except Queensland, reported increases in the numbers of customers using payment plans to repay energy debt:
    • Around 2.6 per cent of electricity customers are using payment plans to repay debt in New South Wales. This compares with 2.4 per cent in South Australia, 1.7 per cent in Queensland, around 1 per cent in Tasmania and 0.6 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 (1.7 per cent) and New South Wales (1.6 per cent), followed by the ACT (0.6 per cent) and Queensland (0.4 per cent).
  • There were increases in the percentages of customers entering hardship programs this quarter. Hardship programs are most commonly used in South Australia, with 1.9 per cent of electricity customers and 1.5 per cent of gas customers receiving this additional assistance. In New South Wales 0.9 per cent of electricity customers and around 0.6 per cent of gas customers are on hardship programs. In Queensland 1 per cent of electricity customers and 0.7 per cent of gas customers are on hardship programs.
  • In Tasmania, there are over 2,100 electricity customers on hardship programs (0.9 per cent). In the ACT, only 0.4 per cent of electricity customers and 0.7 per cent of gas customers are on a hardship program.
  • New South Wales and the ACT’s electricity disconnection numbers this quarter were consistent with the previous quarter. Residential electricity disconnections dropped in Tasmania but increased in South Australia and Queensland. Residential gas disconnections increased in South Australia, were consistent with last quarter in New South Wales and Queensland, and decreased in the ACT.