The retail sector is the final link in the electricity supply chain. It is where retailers provide energy services to end-use customers.
Consumers have the ability to choose their electricity retailer in five of the six National Electricity Market jurisdictions. Tasmania will also introduce full retail contestability from July 2014. The Australian Energy Market Operator manages the retail markets in the NEM jurisdictions, providing the systems that enable customer transfers (when a customer switches its retailer).
The National Energy Customer Framework acts to protect small customers in their electricity and gas supply arrangements. Go to Energy retail markets for more information on the framework.
The AEMC conducts reviews of the effectiveness of competition in energy retail markets. In past reviews we have found that in most jurisdictions consumers have benefitted from increasing choice in their retailer and the type of products available. We have also found that in most jurisdictions the number of consumers on regulated tariffs is steadily decreasing. Following our competition reviews in Victoria, South Australia, the Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales, we recommended that retail price regulation be removed in these jurisdictions.
Consumers have greater opportunities for participation in retail markets as technology advances, competition increases and retailers differentiate their offerings. Advanced metering technology will provide richer consumption information and more service possibilities. Distributed generation allows people to generate their own electricity and sell energy they do not use themselves back into the market.
In 2013 the AEMC started work on a series of rule changes recommended by our Power of Choice review. The review recommended a package of integrated demand side participation reforms. The package provides households, businesses and industry with more opportunities to make informed choices about the way they use electricity and manage expenditure.