NSW price deregulation and changes
Until 30 June 2014, there were three kinds of residential and small business electricity contracts in NSW:
- regulated contract
- standard retail contract, and
- market contract.
From 1 July 2014, residential and small business customers in NSW are only be able to choose between a standard retail contract and market contract for their electricity supply – as regulated electricity contracts are no longer available.
A regulated electricity contract was the electricity supply arrangement that Origin had to offer residential and small business customers in the Endeavour Energy and Essential Energy distribution areas between 1 July 2013 and 30 June 2014.
The independent pricing regulator (IPART) set regulated electricity contract charges, and other terms and conditions were set by law to protect consumer rights – including no fixed term, no early termination fee and no plan discounts, rebates or rewards.
When regulated contracts were introduced on 1 July 2013, Origin's existing standard form electricity contract customers in the Endeavour Energy and Essential Energy distribution areas became regulated contract customers under the regulations.
Although regulated electricity retailers and regulated electricity contracts no longer applied from 1 July 2014:
- all electricity retailers continued to offer both standard retail contracts and market contracts, and
- existing Origin regulated customers became standard retail contract customers, but with ‘transitional charges’. ‘Transitional charges’ ended for small business customers on 30 June 2015 and ended on 30 June 2016 for residential customers.
Like a regulated contract, standard retail contract terms and conditions are set by law to protect consumer rights. They have no fixed term, no early termination fee and no plan discounts, rebates or rewards.
Unlike a regulated contract, each electricity retailer sets their own electricity standing offer charges which apply to their standard retail contract – these charges are not set by the independent pricing regulator (IPART).
All electricity retailers must have a standard retail contract with their published standing offer electricity charges available for residential or small business electricity customers.
A market contract is an electricity supply arrangement with terms and conditions, including prices, set by retailers.
Market contracts often (but not always) have a plan discount of some kind off the electricity charges, or some other plan rebate or reward, and these discounts or rewards usually apply for a set period of time (a fixed benefit period).
Market contracts with fixed benefit periods for discounts and rewards often have early termination or exit fees, but Origin doesn't charge these fees to our residential customers.
Origin's residential market contracts have names like Origin Saver, DailySaver and Origin Supply. Our current small business market contracts are Business eSaver, BusinessSaver, and Origin Supply.
From 1 July 2014, regulated electricity contracts no longer existed, but standard retail contracts and market contracts continued to be offered for electricity supply.
Origin's regulated contract customers became standard retail contract customers with special ‘transitional charges’. ‘Transitional charges’ ended for small business customers on 30 June 2015 and ended on 30 June 2016 for residential customers.
If you were an Origin residential customer in the Endeavour Energy (Integral Energy) and Essential Energy (Country Energy) distribution areas, and on a regulated electricity contract on 30 June 2014, our 'transitional standard retail contract' charges applied from 1 July 2014 until 30 June 2016. From 1 July 2016 our published standing offer charges apply to you.
If you were an Origin small business customer in the Endeavour Energy (Integral Energy) and Essential Energy (Country Energy) distribution areas, and on a regulated electricity contract on 30 June 2014, our 'transitional standard retail contract' charges applied from 1 July 2014 – 30 June 2015. From 1 July 2015 our published standing offer charges applied to you.
Origin's residential transitional charges applied for two years, ending on 30 June 2016.
On 1 July 2014 residential 'transitional standard retail contract ' customers who were not on older (obsolete) charges received at least a 1.5% decrease compared to their charges that applied on 30 June 2014.
Then, from 1 July 2015, residential transitional charges did not increase more than:
- CPI (on average across all customers), plus
- costs passed through to or imposed on Origin, such as network charges or taxes.
Small business 'transitional standard retail contract' customers received increases of no more than 1.8% on their charges from 1 July 2014, with the transitional pricing agreement ending for small business customers on 30 June 2015.
Eligible customers can find their 'transitional standard retail contract' charges here (41KB) and these applied for residential customers until 30 June 2016.
If a customer with transitional charges moved and took up a new electricity standard retail contract with Origin at their next property during the transition period, then the published standing offer charges applied – not the transitional charges.
And if a customer with transitional charges switched to a market contract at their property, they couldn’t then decide to go back onto their 'transitional standard retail contract'.
Customers needed to consider whether a market offer was best for them before switching plans during the transitional period – especially residential customers, because of the limit on prices increases until 1 July 2016.
The transitional period agreed with the NSW government ended for residential customers on 30 June 2016 and for small business customers on 30 June 2015. After these dates, transitional charges were aligned with our new standard retail contract charges.
Origin customers on a regulated contract should have had 'Origin Standing', 'Regulated', 'Deemed' or 'Origin Default' on bills they received before 1 July 2014. After 1 July 2014, their bills had 'Origin Standing – Transitional'. And after 1 July 2016, their bills will show ‘Origin Standing’.
There were a number of 'transitional standard retail contract' customers on older (obsolete) charges, which were much lower than our non-obsolete transitional charges, and were lower than the costs associated with supplying them.
To enable Origin to recover its costs, Origin adjusted these customers' rates by an average of around 6.5% on 1 July 2014.
Even with this increase, these older obsolete charges were still equal to or less than the transitional charges for other customers.
By agreement with the NSW government, Origin will not increase prices for customers with obsolete charges by more than 10 per cent on average each year for three years.
Eligible customers can find information on those transitional obsolete charges here (41KB).
If you've been a 'transitional standard retail contract' customer and are considering moving or switching to a discount market contract then feel free to get in touch on 13 24 61 – we'll be happy to help work out what's best for you.