ACCC: More needs to be done to tackle high gas prices

Australia’s consumer watchdog has announced that households and businesses are paying too much for natural gas and that ‘greater effort is needed’ to secure fairer prices.

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) Chair, Rod Sims, stated at an industry conference that stronger measures need to be taken to ensure the liquified natural gas (LNG) market is viable.

“Our gas inquiry continues to find the gas market is not a functional, competitive market,” Mr Sims said.

“We can see no end to the increasingly complex and difficult environment we are in, unless LNG producers and other gas suppliers, pipeline operators and governments all work together.”

Mr Sims explained that despite falling wholesale gas prices of late, a recent ACCC report uncovered prices were still higher than export parity. The export parity refers to the price that a gas supplier would expect to receive for the gas it plans to export.

“The long-term supply outlook shows us that there is a risk of a shortfall for southern states as early as 2024, and the east coast market as a whole in 2026 and beyond. New sources of supply and related infrastructure will be required to avoid a potential shortfall,” he said.

According to the ACCC’s ‘Overcoming Gas Affordability Issues’ inquiry, allocating new domestic sources of supply and infrastructure are just some of the factors that need to be addressed in order to avoid a potential shortfall across the southern states. Mr Sims added that the lack of competition has contributed to higher gas prices.

“Adding to this problem is the limited degree of competition at the producer and retailer level, which results in higher prices and a reduction in competitive outcomes for commercial and industrial users.”

In comparison to the retail electricity market, Aussies don’t have nearly as many options with gas providers, said Canstar Blue Editor-in-Chief, Simon Downes.

“While gas customers in Victoria and New South Wales have a few different suppliers to choose from, it doesn’t compare to the level of competition in electricity, and it’s even slimmer if you’re in South Australia, Queensland or Western Australia,” Mr Downes said.

“It’s just as important to compare gas prices from a range of providers available in your area. This way you know which deals are cheaper than others, and besides, nobody wants to pay more than their neighbours.”

To provide transparency to all stakeholders, the ACCC stated it will be monitoring and reporting on the behaviour of the natural gas market over the course of the inquiry.

Compare Gas Prices

Gas Plans Compared in VIC

Here are some of the cheapest gas deals on our database for VIC. These estimated annual costs are based on the Australian Gas Network in Melbourne and yearly gas usage of 29,830MJ, but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of lowest estimated cost. This table includes products from referral partners†. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

Gas Plans Compared in NSW

Here are some of the cheapest gas deals on our database for NSW. These estimated annual costs are based on the Jemena Gas Network in Sydney and yearly gas usage of 18,542MJ, but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of lowest estimated cost. This table includes products from referral partners†. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

Gas Plans Compared in WA

Here are some of the cheapest gas deals on our database for WA. These estimated annual costs are based on the ATCO Network in Perth and yearly gas usage of 27,620 (units), but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of lowest estimated cost. This table includes products from referral partners†. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

Gas Plans Compared in SA

Here are some of the cheapest gas deals on our database for SA. These estimated annual costs are based on the Australian Gas Network in Adelaide and yearly gas usage of 11,875MJ, but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of lowest estimated cost. This table includes products from referral partners†. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

Gas Plans Compared in QLD

Here are some of the cheapest gas deals on our database for QLD. These estimated annual costs are based on the Australian Gas Network in Brisbane and yearly gas usage of 6,842MJ, but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of lowest estimated cost. This table includes products from referral partners†. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

Image credit: pan demin/Shutterstock.com

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