Electricity retailers purchase electricity from the wholesale market, pay for transportation services and sell the combined product to homes and businesses.
In south east Queensland (SEQ), the Queensland Government deregulated electricity prices for customers, effective from July 2016. Consumers in SEQ can, and should, shop around for the best electricity offer to meet their needs. To make finding the best deal easier, the Australian Energy Regulator has a price comparison website called Energy Made Easy, which compares all energy offers in the market. We monitor the SEQ retail electricity market and report on retail prices, discounts and other incentives, retail fees and other topics the government asks us to report on.
In regional Queensland, retail competition is limited and most consumers continue to be supplied by Ergon Energy under a standard contract. This is because Ergon Energy receives a subsidy from the Queensland Government to ensure that consumers in higher-cost regional and rural areas pay the same prices as consumers in lower-cost south east Queensland. In most cases other retailers cannot offer a better deal to consumers than Ergon Energy provides, because they do not receive this subsidy. Our main role in the regional electricity market is setting regulated electricity prices in regional Queensland.
Protection for consumers
To ensure consumers’ rights are protected, retailers must adhere to the National Energy Customer Framework, which places a number of obligations on retailers’ behaviour. These obligations relate to matters such as marketing conduct, the type of information retailers are obliged to give to consumers and minimum contract terms and conditions. Most of the obligations under the framework are administered by the Australian Energy Regulator. More information on the framework is available on the Australian Energy Market Commission’s website.
Do you have a complaint about your electricity retailer? See who can help.
The QCA has also made submissions to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Australian Energy Regulator regarding certain aspects of their regulatory and monitoring roles in Queensland’s retail electricity markets. Our submissions are available below.