“While some consumers are taking advantage of competition to get better value for money, the majority are not”: Rosemary Sinclair. Photo: Leanne Pickett LJP Consumers wary of electricity and gas markets: Few families are chasing alternate energy suppliers. Photo: Acton Mount Lawley
Nanjing Night Net

Opening up the electricity market to competition may have been touted by government as paving the way for lower bills, but many households have refused to take part, which has resulted in only a modest number of families nationwide chasing cheaper power suppliers.

At the same time, households say that the value for money of their electricity services ranks behind gas and all other utility services, including banking, mobile phones and internet services, said Rosemary Sinclair, the chief executive of the government-backed Energy Consumers Australia.

“While some consumers are taking advantage of competition to get better value for money, the majority are not,” she said.

One difficulty can be the challenge of changing supplier even if you find a better priced offer, Ms Sinclair said, with a “general wariness about the market and the sense that it is not working in [consumer’s] interests”.

“The consumers who are switching – who are actively engaging in the market – are not reporting higher levels of satisfaction with value for money than those who are not. This points to the need to place the retail market – where there are questions about value for money, the nature of the services being offered and where innovation is going to come from – at the centre of thinking about the transformation of the energy system.”

Consumer wariness over how electricity and gas markets work have resulted in large numbers of households deciding not to engage at all, a survey by the consumer body released Tuesday has found, with nearly half of all households in NSW and Queensland never having switched supplier (47 per cent and 52 per cent respectively) while even in Victoria, which is touted as among the most competitive markets globally, 36 per cent of households have never changed their supplier.

As a result, it appears that much of the switching involves only a small number of households who change supplier regularly, the survey found, a finding which was reinforced by the fact that 74 per cent of households surveyed do not intend to change their supplier in the next 12 months. This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.