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New survey shows shifts in consumer sentiment

New survey shows shifts in consumer sentiment

The latest in a series of surveys on the experience of consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic has provided a snapshot of the performance of retailers, as well as the level of concern among consumers about managing their power bills.

BY Carl Kitchen Apr 15 2021
End of era with Yallourn closure

End of era with Yallourn closure

Yallourn has been home to a coal-fired power station for 100 years, but it was recently announced that this would come to an end in 2028 with the closure of the current four unit Yallourn W power station. In providing seven years notice of closure, EnergyAustralia has given the market, policy makers and government time to adjust and avoid shocks. We take a look at the announcement and some history of the power station.

BY AEC Mar 11 2021
Re-regulation: What do latest retail reports reveal?

Re-regulation: What do latest retail reports reveal?

At the end of November each year, the AER and ESC publish their assessments of the performance of the retail market for the previous financial year.

BY Ben Barnes Dec 03 2020
Victoria’s big battery: What exactly is it for?

Victoria’s big battery: What exactly is it for?

Announced with great fanfare on 5 November, the Victorian Big Battery may not win any prizes for imaginative naming, but it’s an intriguing project for a host of reasons.

BY Allan O'Neil for AEC Nov 26 2020
The wildcat strike: Twenty years on

The wildcat strike: Twenty years on

We are often discussing the new challenges of securely operating a power system with new renewable and storage technologies. Twenty years ago the National Electricity Market supply was much more uniform relying on conventional large power systems, predominately coal. But that was no cruise either as the power system then faced a routine threat as big as anything we face today, but has now abated: industrial action.

BY Ben Skinner Nov 05 2020
Putting the squeeze on prices and competition

Putting the squeeze on prices and competition

A new paper has found a drop in the spread of retail market offers following the re-introduction of price re-regulation in July last year.

BY Carl Kitchen Oct 08 2020
Victoria’s audacious intervention: The end for national planning?

Victoria’s audacious intervention: The end for national planning?

On 18 February the Victorian Energy Minister, Lily D’Ambrosio, introduced the National Electricity (Victoria) Amendment Bill 2020. We look at what is in the Bill and the implications for national planning and grid developments.

Putting VEPC to the test: Is shopping around really worth just $45?

Putting VEPC to the test: Is shopping around really worth just $45?

When grand statements are made about the value of engaging in the retail electricity market, they are generally made by one of two kinds of people: Those who claim to know something about the market, and those that don’t. The latter category tends to be the domain of commentators aiming for effect. The former category tends to revolve around data.

BY Ben Barnes Sep 05 2019
A path to success or a road to nowhere?

A path to success or a road to nowhere?

The Victorian Government appears committed to implementing its crowning piece of Retail Electricity Market reform on 1 July. Legislation to enable the Victorian Default Offer (largely a rebranded Basic Service Offer) has passed the Parliament, and the Essential Services Commission has provided advice to the Government setting out its views on the price of the VDO.

BY Ben Barnes May 09 2019
Time out for conditional discounting

Time out for conditional discounting

Pay-on-time discounting practises in the energy retail sector have become the latest target of the Federal Government which claims missed payments can amount to $1000 per household. But how much of an issue is pay-on-time discounting and how many customers are on such schemes?

BY Nick Leys Feb 21 2019
Victoria's Renewables Reverse Auction: Known knowns and some known unknowns

Victoria's Renewables Reverse Auction: Known knowns and some known unknowns

This week the Victorian Government announced the outcome of its renewable energy reverse auction scheme, which had targeted 650MW of renewable generation projects.

ACCC condemns BSO

ACCC condemns BSO

Last week’s release of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s report into electricity prices is the latest in a series of in-depth analyses of the energy market and the challenges faced by the industry in delivering for consumers.

BY Sarah McNamara Jul 19 2018
The big reveal: Victoria responds to Thwaites Review

The big reveal: Victoria responds to Thwaites Review

Retailers were pleased that the Victorian Government’s seven month silence on its Independent Review of the Electricity & Gas Retail Markets was broken over the weekend. Now the real work of formal consultation with the Government begins, in a compressed timeframe given its stated intention to announce a final response by the middle of the year.

BY Sarah McNamara Mar 16 2018
Competition and the UK retail energy market: Lessons for Australia?

Competition and the UK retail energy market: Lessons for Australia?

The UK and Victoria pioneered retail competition in the energy sector. Internationally, it is working well for business customers. Yet in both places there is now talk of reimposing price controls for residential customers. Why is this and will it be good for these customers? I have been in Melbourne this last week to discuss what lessons we can learn from past experience.

Looming increases in Victorian household electricity prices: What are the drivers?

Looming increases in Victorian household electricity prices: What are the drivers?

Unfortunately there is some more bad news on the electricity price front coming up in the new year. However there may be some light further down the tunnel.

BY Ben Skinner Nov 24 2017
Thwaites Review of Retail Markets in Victoria: Reviewing the risks

Thwaites Review of Retail Markets in Victoria: Reviewing the risks

Victoria’s Independent Review of the Electricity and Gas Retail Markets in Victoria was released on 13 August 2017. Since that time the Victorian Government has indicated that it will respond to the Review before the end of the year, but has been silent as to the consultation process it will run in the meantime.

Thwaites Review of Retail Markets in Victoria: The good, the bad and the ugly

Thwaites Review of Retail Markets in Victoria: The good, the bad and the ugly

The energy industry in Victoria received the much awaited Independent Review of the Electricity and Gas Retail Markets in Victoria (the Thwaites Review) on 13 August 2017. The product of some eight months of research and consultations led by a panel of eminent Victorians (John Thwaites, Terry Mulder and Patricia Faulkner), the Thwaites Review now rests with Minister D’Ambrosio for her consideration. This article addresses the key recommendations of the report.

BY Sarah McNamara Aug 18 2017
Electricity retailing: Markets, misconceptions and margins

Electricity retailing: Markets, misconceptions and margins

Electricity retail remains firmly in the spotlight, with the industry awaiting the release of the Thwaites Review’s final report to the Victorian Government as well as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) preliminary report from its retail inquiry. Much of the commentary in recent months has picked up on a piece by the Grattan Institute that claimed Victorian retail margins were inexplicably high and that observable price dispersion was not consistent with a competitive market[i]. A number of other, mostly more recent papers offer an alternative perspective.

BY Kieran Donoghue Aug 04 2017
Victorian retail energy:  Dealing with debts and disconnections

Victorian retail energy: Dealing with debts and disconnections

Victoria's Essential Services released its most recent quarterly report last Friday, and in doing so sought to highlight that energy prices are rising, along with disconnections in Victoria. But are the figures the full story and how do they sit with proposed policy changes?

BY Sarah McNamara Jul 07 2017
The retail electricity market: Misunderstood or genuinely failing?

The retail electricity market: Misunderstood or genuinely failing?

The recently released Grattan Institute report ‘Price Shock: Is the retail electricity market failing consumers?’ is an interesting analysis of retailer competition in energy markets, with a particular focus on the retail energy sector in Victoria. Presumably timed to coincide with both the Victorian Government’s Inquiry into Retail Margins and Dr Finkel’s work on a broader national blueprint, it has received some attention across both the media and the energy industry.

BY Sarah McNamara Mar 23 2017
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