Commission to monitor SA electricity market

In an effort to prove it is keeping an eye on the retail electricity market, the Essential Services Commission of South Australia has put forward a proposal for monitoring the development of competition in the state.

The idea is that continual surveying of the market will provide the commission with an accurate picture of whether consumers are transferring between electricity retailers; the types and prices of contracts being offered in the market and the availability of information about the contracts available.

It is hoped that the study will lead to a more informed consumer sector and subsequently greater competition between the retailers. Commission chairperson Les Owens revealed to date the amount of consumer activity in the market was minimal.

"Up to 8 April, only 1,152 SA domestic and small business customers had changed their retailer.

"The figure is disappointing and the Commission hopes that in the coming months we will see higher levels of activity, with better prices and more innovative products being offered."

Electricity retail competition was introduced to South Australian households and small businesses on 1 January 2003 with the aim of allowing consumers to choose which electricity retailer they buy electricity from.

The Commission is seeking comments on its proposals from members of the public and the electricity industry by 30 May, 2003.