Competition in the electricity and gas retail markets has been introduced in South Australia in a staged manner, beginning in late 1998 when large industrial and commercial customers were able to choose their energy retailers, to the introduction of full retail contestability (FRC) in the small customer segment in electricity in January 2003 and gas in July 2004.
During 2003 and 2004, consultation occurred on a number of papers reviewing how best to monitor the development of electricity and gas (energy) FRC in South Australia, which culminated in the release of the Final Decision Paper ("Monitoring the Development of Energy Retail Competition in South Australia, Final Decision") in September 2004. This Final Decision Paper provides an integrated framework for monitoring the development of competition in the South Australian electricity and gas (energy) retail markets.
Until 2006, when the Commission ceased its activities in this area in anticipation of the Australian Energy Market Commission’s review into the effectiveness of competition in South Australia, the Commission monitored the on-going development of FRC in the South Australian energy retail market based on the seven key indicators, canvassed in the Final Decision paper, encompassing both retailer-related and consumer-related developments.
The Commission’s monitoring of the development of the electricity and gas retail markets is reported through the Commission's Annual Performance Reports (up to and including 2011/12) and its six-monthly Statistical Reports (with the last six-monthly report released in March 2006), with some market statistics reported quarterly.
On 18 December 2012, the South Australian Government announced the decision to deregulate energy prices (electricity and gas) for small South Australian energy customers from 1 February 2013.
From 1 February 2013, the principal regulation of South Australia's retail energy market transferred to the Australian Energy Regulator (AER). The AER is now responsible for consumer protection and performance monitoring in the electricity and gas retail market.
From 1 February 2013, the AER has taken on responsibility to review, monitor and report on a number of retail functions.
As a result of the Government’s decision to deregulate energy prices and the transfer of some functions to the AER, the Commission’s role has become more limited.