Retail energy market update
25 March 2014
The AER has published retail performance data for Quarter 2, 2013-14.
Summary of data:
- There was a decrease in customers switching energy retailers in the December 2013 quarter, most notably in NSW where electricity and gas switching fell to its lowest rate since the June 2011 quarter. Switching rates in Victoria continue to be the highest for electricity and gas in Australia.
- A greater proportion of energy customers in South Australia made complaints to their retailers compared with customers in New South Wales and the ACT.
- 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. Around 90 per cent of all residential electricity customers with a debt owed less than $1500 to their retailer. Over 7 per cent of residential gas customers in the ACT owe debts to retailers. This compares with around 4 per cent of customers in South Australia and New South Wales. Around 95 per cent of all residential gas customers with a debt owed less than $1500 to their retailer.
- Average residential electricity debt levels were $505 in New South Wales, $600 in South Australia, $643 in Tasmania and $780 in the ACT. For gas, average residential gas debt levels were $240 in South Australia, $350 in New South Wales and $538 in the ACT.
- Over 3 per cent of residential electricity customers and 2 per cent of residential gas customers in South Australia are on a payment plan. Around 2 per cent of residential electricity customers and 1 per cent of residential gas customers are on a payment plan in NSW. In Tasmania 1.5 per cent of electricity customers are on payment plans, and less than 0.5 per cent of electricity and gas customers in the ACT are on payment plans.
- Although fewer customers are on hardship programs when compared to payment plans, the use of hardship programs to repay energy debt is increasing in each jurisdiction. Increases in hardship program customers have been steady in South Australia and New South Wales. In the ACT, the number of gas customers on hardship programs is 80 per cent greater than a year ago, although fewer electricity customers are on hardship programs. Significantly more customers in Tasmania are on Aurora Energy’s hardship program – 846 compared to 178 at the end of December 2012.
- From a jurisdictional perspective there was no significant change in the level of disconnections, although there was for a number of retailers—both increases and decreases. Most disconnected customers were reconnected to electricity and gas within 7 days.