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Expanded price protection delivering cheaper electricity

14 February 2020

The Morrison Government is expanding its electricity price protections to ensure more than one million extra consumers get a fair deal on energy.

The Government has extended the coverage of its Default Market Offer (DMO) to Australian households and businesses with solar systems and with flexible or time-of-use tariffs in New South Wales, South Australia and southeast Queensland from 1 July 2020.

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 these consumer protections.

“For customers who find pricing and discounts confusing, or who simply don’t have the time to negotiate a better deal, the Default Market Offer 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,” Minister 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 Default Market Offer, which confirms electricity prices should continue to fall across southeast Queensland and South Australia and to 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.

The Default Market Offer builds on the Australian Government’s actions to ensure Australians get a fair deal on energy – a more affordable and reliable energy system that puts customers first. This includes:

  • introducing the ‘big stick’ legislation to deal with misconduct in the electricity sector and ensure retailers pass on reductions in wholesale prices to consumers;
  • cracking down on unfair discounting practices by energy retailers;
  • the Underwriting New Generation Investments program to improve competition and reduce wholesale prices;
  • establishing a new $1 billion Grid Reliability Fund to support investment in new energy generation, storage and transmission;
  • extending the consumer data right to energy, to make it easier for consumers to switch provider to get a better deal; and
  • extending the ACCC’s electricity and gas sector inquiries to ensure energy companies continue to be held to account.

Public submissions for the Default Market Offer draft determination closes on 9 March 2020, with the AER expected to release the final determination in April 2020.

More information is available on the AER website.

Media contact: Minister Taylor's office 02 6277 7120