The Federal Government is expanding the coverage of its Default Market Offer (DMO) to include households and businesses with solar systems and flexible or time-of-use tariffs in New South Wales, South Australia and South East Queensland.
Introduced in July 2019, the DMO only covered residential and small business customers who were on flat tariffs or had controlled loads.
Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, Angus Taylor, said the decision means over one million extra electricity customers will have access to consumer protections.
“For customers who find pricing and discounts confusing, or who simply don’t have the time to negotiate a better deal, the DMO acts as both a strong price safety net and a reference price to help consumers to more easily compare offers and find the cheapest deal,” Mr Taylor said.
“More than one in four Australian families now have solar on their roofs – this is about protecting them from high prices when the sun doesn’t shine.”
The decision to extend price protection follows the latest Australian Energy Regulator (AER) draft price determination on the DMO, which confirms electricity prices should continue to fall across South East Queensland and South Australia, and remain well below prices before July 2019 across New South Wales.
The DMO is a price cap that protects loyal customers from excessively high standing-offer contracts. The DMO protects consumers by setting a maximum price a retailer can charge electricity customers on standing offers. It also acts as a reference price that energy retailers must use when advertising or promoting offers, making it easier to compare offers between retailers.
Public submissions for the Default Market Offer draft determination close on 9 March 2020, with the AER expected to release the final determination in April 2020.