Energy Consumers Australia initiated the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Retail Tariff Tracking Project (the Project) in April 2016, because we recognise the need to know more about the energy costs being faced by small businesses.
There are approximately 1 million businesses classified as small energy customers under various jurisdictional thresholds of annual consumption in kilowatt hours. Yet there is little evidence of what individually small business consumers might actually be paying for energy and how that is changing over time.
Increases in energy costs can adversely impact all businesses, large or small, undermining their long-term profitability and ability to offer employment and support the prosperity of the Australian community. Energy Consumers Australia commends the attention that has been brought to bear in the Australian Competition and Consumer Commissions Retail Electricity Pricing Inquiry, Preliminary Report on the unacceptable pressures facing Australian businesses and consumers as a result of the price increases over the past ten years.
Through ongoing work on the SME Retail Tariff Tracking Project we will continue to build the evidence base of the costs facing small business, particularly those that are energy intensive and are unable to pass on those costs. As in other markets, for competition to be effective the transparency of information is an important tool so that consumers can participate with confidence.
The analysis presented in this SME Retail Tariff Tracker Project Final Report is based on retail offers available in October 2017 as well as those collected in April 2017 and April 2016. The new consumption levels used for this update report reflect feedback received on the SME Retail Tariff Tracker Project, Analysis of small business retail energy bills in Australia: Preliminary Report (October 2017). Readers interested in more background information about SME energy customers, contract and tariff types may also want to refer to the Preliminary Report.
The full analysis in the SME Retail Tariff Tracker: Final Report December 2017 can be read here.