On Monday 22 May, the Energy Minister, Ben Wyatt, reaffirmed the Labor Government’s determination to introduce Full Retail Contestability (FRC) in the electricity market “sooner rather than later”. FRC would see small customers consuming less than 50MWh per year being allowed to choose a retailer other than Synergy. Although not willing to commit to a timetable, it is clear that the Government wants to achieve this goal as soon as is possible with the Minister saying it would be “wonderful” if it could be done by the July 2019 deadline set by the previous Government.
AGL and Origin Energy have over the last few months been getting ready to enter the Western Australian small use gas market, a move which would put them in a better position to also serve smaller electricity customers if FRC is introduced. They both reached an important milestone on 30 May when they were awarded Gas Trading Licences by the Economic Regulation Authority, authorising them to sell gas to small use customers.
AGL and Origin energy’s entry into the gas retailing market would effectively double the available choice to consumers by adding two new retailers to the existing offerings from Kleenheat and Alinta Energy.