The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) today called for public submissions on the issues paper which launches the consultation process for its review of competition in New South Wales retail electricity and natural gas markets. This is the AEMC’s first such review in New South Wales since the introduction of full retail contestability in the state’s energy market 10 years ago. Submissions are due by 8 February 2013.

Under the Australian Energy Market Agreement the AEMC is required to assess and publicly report on the effectiveness of retail competition in energy retail markets in each state and territory (except Western Australia and the Northern Territory). The AEMC will establish the state of competition in NSW and provide advice on ways to promote the growth of effective competition; or to phase out retail price regulation if competition is found to be effective.

A decade on from the introduction of competition for energy retailers in NSW, this review starts at a time of considerable change in both the retail and wholesale energy markets. The privatisation of previously Government-owned retailers has changed retailer market shares in the state. Similarly, selling the trading rights to two State Government-owned generators has changed the dynamic of the NSW wholesale market. These changes are set to continue with the announced sale of the NSW Government's generation asset portfolio.

This review also follows a period of price rises which may have had an impact on customers' willingness to engage in electricity and gas retail markets.

The review will be completed and our advice provided to energy ministers by 30 September 2013.

It will explore:

  • small customers' experiences of energy retail competition including the types of marketing practices used and prices offered;
  • retailers’ experiences of full energy retail competition, including any perceived barriers to entry;
  • views on time of use tariffs, including their availability, take up and impact on competition; and
  • views on the best path to removing retail price regulation in NSW's small customer electricity and natural gas retail markets, including views on the appropriateness of gradually rolling back the consumption threshold for access to regulated prices.

For information contact:

AEMC Acting Senior Director, Eamonn Corrigan (02) 8296 7800

Media: Communication Manager, Prudence Anderson 0404 821 935 or (02) 8296 7817

Date: 13 December 2012