The ACCC plays an active role in the energy sector in Australia. Our role encompasses both electricity and gas.
We're currently inquiring into the prices, profits and margins in the supply of electricity in the National Electricity Market (NEM).
We have an ongoing role in retail electricity in enforcing the Competition and Consumer (Industry Code – Electricity Retail) Regulations 2019 (the Electricity Retail Code).
We also have an ongoing role in enforcing Part XICA of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (the Act), introduced by the Treasury Laws Amendment (Prohibiting Energy Market Misconduct) Act (2019), when it comes into effect on 10 June 2020.
In 2018, the Treasurer directed us to hold a public inquiry to monitor prices, profits and margins in relation to the supply of electricity in the NEM. The inquiry will run for seven years, ending in 2025. We are required to report at least once every six months.
The ACCC has been directed to monitor:
- electricity prices faced by customers in the NEM
- wholesale market prices
- profits being made by generators and retailers
- contract market liquidity, and
- the effects of policy changes, including those resulting from our recommendations in the Retail Electricity Pricing Inquiry.
In addition, where appropriate, we will make recommendations to government(s) to take any proportional and targeted action considered necessary to remedy failure by any market participants (or the market as a whole) to deliver competitive and efficient electricity prices.
The ACCC’s role in energy markets is in the context of the Act. For example, we enforce the competition and consumer protection provisions in energy markets and assesses energy mergers and authorisations.
We are also responsible for monitoring and enforcement of energy specific provisions.
- The Competition and Consumer (Industry Code—Electricity Retail) Regulations 2019 (the Electricity Retail Code) sets a maximum price for certain electricity offers, which also forms a reference price for marketing activities.
- Part XICA of the Act, introduced by the Treasury Laws Amendment (Prohibiting Energy Market Misconduct) Bill 2019, will prohibit certain conduct in electricity retail, contract and wholesale markets when it comes into effect on 10 June 2020.
See also: Legislation
Prior to our current electricity inquiry, the ACCC conducted the Retail Electricity Pricing Inquiry (REPI) throughout 2017 and 2018. In the final REPI report, we set out a package of 56 recommendations to bring down electricity prices and restore consumer confidence and Australia’s competitive advantage.
The ACCC does not regulate monopoly energy infrastructure anymore, as those functions are now undertaken by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER).
Details of decisions made by the ACCC in electricity and gas markets prior to the introduction of the AER and information on the National Electricity Market Access Code are available from our public registers.
The Australian Energy Regulator is Australia’s national energy market regulator. It has an independent board and shares staff, resources and facilities with the ACCC.
Electricity retail code (information for electricity retailers)
Electricity prices (information for consumers)