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NewsBiggest Changes to Energy Prices in a Generation on July 1

Biggest Changes to Energy Prices in a Generation on July 1

Electricity relief is on its way for some 758,000 households who are currently stuck on expensive standing offers.  

On July 1 2019 all customers not receiving an electricity discount will be automatically switched to a Default Market Offer (DMO), saving some households between $118 and $181 a year across New South Wales, South-East Queensland and South Australia. Similar changes from July 1 have been announced by the Victorian Essential Services Commission  which will apply to both electricity and gas

The change is one of the recommendations to come out of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) report into power prices.

FiftyUp Club campaigner Christopher Zinn says the reforms will benefit households and businesses who failed to shop around and switch to a market offer.  

“There’s no doubt the existing standing offers were not working and a hard rump of consumers and small business for whatever reasons were not playing ball with the market offers,” said Zinn.

The default prices will be set annually by the energy regulators not the retailers.

“It’s a balancing act for the AER who wants to ensure both consumers are protected and retailers continue to innovate, invest and compete,” added Zinn.

The AER has designed the DMO to act as a benchmark from which all discounts must be calculated. They want to stop ‘meaningless’ discounts being offered and help consumers compare offers more accurately.  

However, despite the changes the AER reports the vast majority of market offers will still be cheaper than the DMO.

 

Ausgrid

(NSW)

Endeavour

(NSW)

Energex

(SEQLD)

Essential

(NSW)

SAPN

(SA)

% Market Offers below DMO

84%

84%

89%

82%

81%

# Market Offers below DMO

41

42

42

37

35

Source: Residential flat rate, AER Final Determination pg 35

AER Chair Paula Conboy says: “Market offers are almost always cheaper than the DMO, and shopping around for a deal that best fits the needs of your household or business is the best way to reduce your power bill.”

While Zinn welcomes the reform he says it is still unclear if the changes will bring widespread improvements to the energy market for the majority of consumers.

“The changes which retailers are rushing to bring in by July 1 will certainly help some people but in any such reforms there are usually, whatever the politicians might claim, winners and losers.

“In this case, it remains to be seen who may be the losers because of the change and by how much,” said Zinn.

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