ACCC Chair Rod Sims delivers a welcome address to the ACCC & AER Regulatory Conference. Mr Sims reflects on the history of the conference as well introducing some of the ACCC’s current views on the state of economic regulation in Australia.
The ACCC will be enforcing new rules that will benefit most electricity consumers by both limiting standing offer electricity prices and imposing new advertising rules on electricity providers under the new Electricity Retail Code. This code comes into force today in South East Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia.
From today, electricity retailers have various obligations under the code including:
Energy retailers in South East Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia must comply with obligations under a new Electricity Retail Code from July 1 this year, including by advertising electricity plans in a way that makes it easier for consumers to compare prices and offers.
A new ACCC guide released today details how retailers in these regions should apply the new code in relation to their customers.
Much-needed reforms that are underway will help address the dysfunctional state of energy retailing in Australia, but action in other parts of the electricity market would further reduce prices for consumers, the ACCC’s first electricity monitoring report says.
Progress in retail affordability measures
The Federal Court has ordered penalties of $900,000 against Amaysim Energy Pty Ltd (trading as Click Energy) for making false or misleading marketing claims about potential discounts and savings available to Victorian and Queensland consumers, in breach of the Australian Consumer Law.
Between October 2017 and March 2018, Click Energy told consumers in Victoria and South East Queensland they could get discounts of between 7 and 29 per cent under its market energy offers, if they paid their bills on time.
The ACCC welcomes moves by the Commonwealth Government towards implementing several recommendations from the ACCC’s retail electricity pricing inquiry. These reforms will bring down electricity prices significantly for over half a million consumers on excessive standing offers and will help all other customers generally better to compare offers.
The ACCC is commencing a new inquiry into the supply of electricity in the National Electricity Market and is consulting on how it will undertake this role.
The ACCC has been tasked with monitoring and reporting on the supply of retail and wholesale electricity in Queensland, NSW, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, and the ACT, until 2025. It will have a focus on monitoring prices, profits and margins, including the effect of policy changes in the National Electricity Market.
In a speech to the Australian Conference of Economists in Canberra today, Chair Rod Sims discussed the ACCC’s approach to market intervention in our current inquiries.
“Enhancing competition does not mean protecting all market participants from failure, nor does consumer protection extend to shielding consumers from price increases set by the markets.”
ACCC Chair Rod Sims delivers a speech to the Australian Conference of Economists, discussing a number of inquires the ACCC is involved with, including the digital platforms inquiry, the retail electricity prices inquiry and the consumer data right.
The ACCC welcomes today’s announcement by the South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy and SIMEC ZEN Energy of investment in new electricity generation capacity in South Australia.
“The ACCC authorised SACOME members to go to market to find a more competitive supplier of electricity. We did this because, as a group, they had a better chance of securing supply from a new source of generation that would bring new competition to the market,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.