Competition in the retail gas market is set to increase for households and small businesses in New South Wales following the announcement that the NSW Government will deregulate prices from 1 July 2017.
Minister for Industry, Resources and Energy, Anthony Roberts, made the announcement at a recent 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.
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 also 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.
The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) will also continue to monitor the state of competition in the electricity and gas markets.