Our 2018 review found that competition was not delivering the expected benefits to energy consumers. After a long period of stable or improving consumer satisfaction and confidence, levels of residential and small business consumer satisfaction and confidence with the retail energy market had declined significantly. In particular, the Commission concluded that the predominant form of retail energy offers at the time — large, pay-on-time conditional discounts, off inconsistent and variable base rates — were not benefiting consumers.
Major regulatory changes have been made to the retail energy market in the past year. The Victorian and Australian Governments have made changes which will re-introduce a form of retail electricity price regulation on 1 July 2019. The Australian Government's changes also introduce a reference price for discounts to be advertised against.
This report is the last retail competition review prior to the introduction of these changes. Future reports will focus on whether recent regulatory changes have benefited consumers and how they can be improved to act in the long-term interests of consumers.