Queenslanders want more power competition

QLD electricityThe deregulation of electricity prices can’t come quick enough for Queenslanders who are desperate to see increased competition.

A Canstar Blue survey of more than 1,000 electricity bill-payers across the Sunshine State found that just 29% have switched providers in the last five years. That compares to 50% in Victoria, 42% in New South Wales and 31% in South Australia, where price regulations have already been lifted.

Of those Queensland customers who haven’t switched providers, one in four (25%) said it was because they didn’t expect to find a better deal elsewhere. And of those who have switched, Queenslanders were most likely to say it wasn’t worth their while.

“There is a big appetite for change in Queensland and a strong desire to see new providers enter the market and shake things up,” said Head of Canstar Blue, Megan Doyle. “Consumers in Queensland must look at the options available to people in the southern states and wonder how much they could save if there was more price competition.

“More than half of Queenslanders are willing to give smaller electricity providers a chance if they entered the local market and fewer than half trust the big energy companies to do a better job. There is a willingness from consumers to switch, but they need to feel that it’s worth their while.”

Of those Queenslanders who have switched electricity providers in the last five years, 75% said it was a good decision. That compares with 82% in Victoria, 81% in NSW and 80% in South Australia. And just 68% of those Queenslanders think switching has saved them money, compared with 77% across the three other states.

Those Queenslanders who haven’t recently switched have been with their current provider for an average of 12 years.

“Those Queenslanders who are switching are desperately trying to find a better deal, but not all of them are finding it,” said Mrs Doyle. “It’s not all about the price of power – some people have switched because they are simply fed up with their old provider and want to try something new.”

Queenslanders were asked to rate their electricity provider across a number of variables, including customer service, billing clarity and value for money. Six different providers featured in the final results and Click Energy, an online retailer born out of Full Retail Competition in Victoria and now has 58,000 customers in Queensland, topped the table.

“The result illustrates the desire for change in Queensland,” said Mrs Doyle. “Price competition may be limited at this stage, but the providers are competing to offer the best overall service. Click Energy offers a different proposition to the big energy companies and its customers are currently more satisfied.

“Competition is hugely important in the energy market and once price regulations are lifted, the energy companies will be queuing up to attract Queenslanders, which will hopefully mean more attractive offers and lower prices.”

Read our full electricity ratings report here.

About this research

Canstar Blue commissioned Colmar Brunton to survey 6,000 Australian adults in December 2015 and January 2016. The customer satisfaction ratings for Queensland are based on the responses of 1,045 respondents who have an active electricity account and pay the bills. Electricity providers must have received a minimum of 30 responses to be included in the ratings.

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