South Australian energy customers set to benefit from greater choice and competition

18 December 2012

Origin Energy Limited (Origin), the leading Australian energy retailer, today welcomed the decision by the South Australian government to deregulate energy prices from 1 February 2013.

A market-based system for determining electricity and gas prices is the most sensible approach and a clear win for South Australians, promoting greater competition between retailers, stimulating innovation in products and services, and providing the appropriate incentive for future investment in generation.

Importantly, price deregulation will be accompanied by the introduction of price monitoring, a function to be carried out by the State's current energy pricing regulator, ESCOSA.

In line with the commencement of price deregulation on 1 February 2013, Origin will reduce gas prices by 1 per cent for South Australian customers on current standing contracts.

Today's decision by the South Australian government immediately follows the important progress by the Council Of Australian Governments (COAG) on energy market reform, which broadly agreed to re-commit to price deregulation, work towards effective competition and provide greater opportunity for consumer innovation and choice.

Origin Managing Director Grant King said, "Origin welcomes the decision by the South Australian government to deregulate energy prices, which will deliver the best outcomes for South Australians, and for the energy industry.

"A deregulated pricing model has been operating in Victoria for many years with great success. Victoria is the most competitive energy market in the world as measured by churn, which is the rate at which customers switch between retailers. It has delivered more choice and innovative products and services to consumers, such as Origin's new smart solution which is already helping thousands of Victorians to better understand their energy use and realise savings.

"Energy companies operating in Victoria have also had the certainty required to make long-term investments in power generation, as demonstrated by the recent completion of Origin's Mortlake Power Station, improving security of the state's energy supply.

"Today's decision will underpin the long-term stability and security of the South Australian energy market, and we look forward to offering a wider range of products and services and actively competing for customers in the state.

"With both Victoria and South Australia fully deregulating energy prices, and New South Wales now joining Queensland in deregulating prices for large customers using more than 100 MWh of energy per annum, this demonstrates momentum for all states governments to move towards full price deregulation," Mr King said.

For further information please contact:

Media
Lina Melero
General Manager, External Affairs
Ph: +61 2 8345 5217
Mobile: +61 427 017 798

Investors
Kylie Springall
Group Manager, Investor Relations
Ph: +61 2 8345 5288
Mobile: +61 400 477 393

About Origin Energy
Origin Energy (ASX: ORG) is the leading Australian integrated energy company focused on gas and oil exploration and production, power generation and energy retailing. A member of the S&P/ASX 20 index, the company has around 5,900 employees and is a leading producer of gas in eastern Australia. Origin is Australia's largest energy retailer servicing 4.4 million electricity, natural gas and LPG customer accounts and has the country's largest and one of the most flexible generation portfolios with more than 5,900 MW of capacity, through either owned generation or contracted rights. Origin's strategic positioning and portfolio of assets provide flexibility, stability and significant opportunities for growth across the energy industry. Through Australia Pacific LNG, its incorporated joint venture with ConocoPhillips and Sinopec, Origin is developing one of Australia's largest CSG to LNG projects based on Australia's largest 2P CSG reserves base.

In New Zealand, Origin is the major shareholder in Contact Energy, the country's leading integrated energy company, operating geothermal, thermal and hydro generation facilities and servicing electricity, gas and LPG customers across both the North and South islands. Origin also operates several oil and gas projects in New Zealand and is one of the largest holders of petroleum exploration acreage in the country.

Origin has a strong focus on ensuring the sustainability of its operations, is the largest green energy retailer in Australia and has significant investments in renewable energy technologies.

For more information go to www.originenergy.com.au.