The Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Retail Tariff Tracker is an ongoing project for Energy Consumers Australia. It collects data twice per year, with reports on trends published in June and December.
Key highlights are:
- Electricity bills were, on average, 3% lower, driven by bigger falls in South Australia (9%), ACT (6%), Queensland (6%), and New South Wales (5%); with Tasmania also down 1% and no change in the Northern Territory.
- Increases were recorded in WA (4%) and Victoria (1%) although business consumers in Victoria are expected to see bigger price reductions in 2021, following the Essential Services Commission’s announcement that the state’s default market offer (VDO) will be 14% lower from 1 January.
- The difference between the lowest and highest market offer – the maximum price spread – has significantly increased in all jurisdictions with market offers except Victoria.
- The jurisdictions with the largest price reductions have also seen significant new entry over the last 18 months since the Default Market Offer and Victorian Default Offer were introduced. In South East Queensland there were 16 retailers in April 2019 compared to 25 retailers in October 2020. In NSW the number of retailers has increased from 21 to 30 (depending on network area) and South Australia has 4 new retailers. In the ACT, two retailers began offering market offers, while in Victoria the number or retailers has remained the same.
- The analysis has also found that, for electricity:
- The use of discounts, including conditional discounts, continues to decrease
- A lower proportion of offers have conditions such as set contract terms and limited benefit periods
- A significant proportion of offers are now conditional upon the customer receiving monthly bills.
- On average, bills were slightly higher for most small businesses using gas compared with a year earlier, with the greatest increases in Victoria (5%) and South Australia (3%). However, small businesses in New South Wales benefited from a reduction in the average bill of 8%.
Earlier this year we conducted additional research to understand what support is available to small business energy customers as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This research is available here.