The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has today released an issues paper for its inquiry into retail electricity supply and prices in Queensland, NSW, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, and the ACT. The ACCC is seeking submissions by the end of June from interested parties.
The paper sets out the key issues that the ACCC will focus on during its inquiry, including:
- prices, costs, and profits – the types of costs that contribute to a retail electricity bill and the risks involved in retailing electricity
- level of competition - the current level of competition, ways that retailers compete and barriers to competition
- impediments to consumers engaging with the market and ways that this can be improved.
“A key focus for the ACCC is to determine the main drivers of retail electricity price increases over time and what can be done about these. As part of this inquiry, we will seek information and data from electricity retailers to further break down the costs that make up a retail electricity bill,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.
“Our inquiry also aims to make findings and recommendations to improve customer outcomes when they are choosing and buying electricity services. We are seeking comment from all interested parties on the issues paper - ranging from retail customers to operators in the electricity supply chain.”
“The ACCC will hold public forums in a number of locations to speak with customers directly about their concerns and experiences. We will also engage with industry directly and use compulsory information gathering powers as required to access information not publicly available,” Mr Sims said.
Submissions are due on 30 June 2017 and can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Further information about these forums will be published on the ACCC’s website in the coming months.
The issues paper and terms of reference are available here: Inquiry into retail electricity prices and supply
On 27 March 2017, the Treasurer issued a notice requiring the ACCC to hold a public inquiry into the supply of retail electricity and the competitiveness of retail electricity prices in the National Electricity Market (NEM). The inquiry formally commenced on this date.
The ACCC must provide a preliminary report to the Treasurer by 27 September 2017 and a final report by 30 June 2018.