The NSW Government will promote further competition in the retail gas market for households and small businesses by deregulating prices from 1 July 2017.
Minister for Industry, Resources and Energy, Anthony Roberts, made the announcement at today’s Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) Energy Series event in Sydney.
Mr Roberts said more than 80 per cent of the state’s 1.3 million residential gas customers have already switched away from the regulated price.
“Our successful deregulation of retail electricity prices has boosted competition in the market, put downward pressure on prices and we now want to see those benefits further replicated across the retail gas market,” Mr Roberts said.
“Last year we signalled our intention to deregulate retail gas prices, subject to there being a significant increase in offers available to customers in regional NSW.
“The NSW Government has worked with industry and stakeholders to improve competition in the regional gas market.”
Deputy Premier Troy Grant said households in regional areas such as Wagga Wagga, Gundagai, Cooma, Temora, and the Albury/ Murray Valley area previously had only one retailer. Now residents can now choose from up to three retailers and up to three times the number of offers, depending on the area.
“With increased competition in the market, householders should compare retailers and shop around for the best market offer that suits your needs,” Mr Grant said.
“For example, a typical household in Wagga Wagga can save around $135 per year by switching away from the regulated offer to the best available market offer, a typical household in Queanbeyan can save around $165 and a typical household in Orange could save around $95.
“This Government is determined to drive down the cost of living in regional areas.”
The NSW Government will consult with key consumer groups to develop an information campaign to support NSW gas retail customers shop around for the best deal for their circumstances.
The NSW Government will appoint the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) to a market- monitoring role with gas, as it already does for the retail electricity market. IPART will conduct annual reviews to monitor and report on the state of competition in the market.
A draft report by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) has found competition in the NSW retail electricity market is working well, following the removal of regulated prices from 1 July 2014.
IPART’s Review of the Performance and Competitiveness of the Retail Electricity Market in NSW 2015-16 draft report competition in the NSW retail electricity market is working well, following the removal of regulated prices 1 July 2014.
IPART found typical residential customers can save between $250 and $445 per year by switching from their retailer’s standing offer to their best market offer. Small business customers can save between $460 and $850 per year.
The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) will also continue to monitor the state of competition in the electricity and gas markets.
Mr Roberts encouraged gas customers to visit the Australian Energy Regulator’s (AER) free and independent price comparison website- www.energymadeeasy.gov.au to compare retail gas offers in their area.