Retail energy market performance update for Quarter 2, 2015-16

Segment: 
Category: 
Retail energy market update
Event date: 
15 March 2016
Release date: 
15 March 2016

Overview

The AER has published retail performance data for Q2 2015-16.

Summary of data:

  • The number of customers switching to other energy retailers slightly decreased in most jurisdictions for most fuel types in the December quarter, and switching rates are generally lower than 12 months ago.
  • The number of complaints to retailers varies across each jurisdiction, with most residential complaints made in South Australia (3.6 per cent of customers), and followed by New South Wales (3.4 per cent), Queensland (2.9 per cent), the ACT (1.4 per cent) and Tasmania (0.8 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.
  • Average debt levels (excluding hardship program customers) were relatively consistent with previous quarters; however both electricity and gas debt levels have continued to increase in South Australia.
  • Average residential electricity debt levels were $582 in Queensland, $614 in New South Wales, $758 in South Australia, $569 in Tasmania and $819 in the ACT. Average residential gas debt levels were $347 in Queensland, $483 in New South Wales, $397 in South Australia and $466 in the ACT.
  • Around 2.3 per cent of electricity customers are using payment plans to repay debt in South Australia and New South Wales. This compares with 1.6 per cent in Queensland, around 1 per cent in Tasmania and 0.7 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 (1.6 per cent) and New South Wales (1.5 per cent), followed by the ACT (0.8 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 0.7 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 0.3 per cent of gas customers are on hardship programs.
  • In Tasmania, there are now over 2,000 electricity customers on hardship programs (0.9 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 56 per cent of customers (electricity and gas) that exited hardship programs were successful in completing their hardship program – a significant increase from the September quarter. Around 27 per cent were excluded or removed for not making the agreed repayments and around 17 per cent transferred to other retailers.
  • Compared with the December 2014 quarter, residential electricity disconnections in South Australia decreased by 8 per cent but gas disconnections increased by 30 per cent. Both electricity and gas disconnections in New South Wales increased by around 4 per cent. Electricity and gas disconnections in Queensland decreased by 27 per cent and 36 per cent respectively.