From the Preface:
The Australian Energy Regulator’s seventh State of the energy market report comes at a time of changing dynamics in the energy industry. Declining electricity demand has led to surplus generation capacity in most regions and has delayed the need to invest in electricity networks. Additionally, greater stability in global financial markets has eased finance costs for energy businesses. In 2013, these developments translated into more stable retail electricity prices in most jurisdictions.
Reforms to the energy rules announced in November 2012 aim to deliver future decisions on network revenues and investment that are in the long term interests of consumers. In 2013 the AER published guidelines under the Better Regulation program on implementing the rules. The guidelines will apply first to regulatory determinations taking effect in 2015.
In retail, the transition to national regulation is continuing,with New South Wales on 1 July 2013 becoming the fourth jurisdiction following South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT to implement the National Energy Retail Law. Consumers in those jurisdictions now enjoy access to the AER’s price comparator, http://www.energymadeeasy.gov.au.
Dynamics in the eastern gas market differ from those in electricity. While domestic demand has weakened, international demand for liquefied natural gas LNG exports from Queensland scheduled to commence in 2014–15 is exerting pressure on gas prices. Policy makers are introducing reforms to help alleviate pressures in the eastern gas market.
This edition of State of the energy market explores conditions in energy markets over the past 12–18 months in those jurisdictions in which the AER has regulatory responsibilities. The report consists of a market overview, supported by five chapters on the electricity and gas sectors. As usual, it employs accessible language to reach a wide audience. I hope this year’s report is a valuable resource for policy makers, consumers, industry and the media.