Retailer of Last Resort (ROLR)

18 Mar 2005
18 Mar 2005
Project Type:
Pricing & access
Contact Person:
Nathan Petrus

In the event that a licensed electricity retailer operating in the National Electricity Market suddenly exits the market and cannot, as a result, continue to sell electricity to its customers, both the market and South Australian electricity customers are protected through a scheme known as Retailer of Last Resort.

In such cases, a business licensed by the Essential Services Commission known as SAROLR steps in and, in a seamless manner, continues to sell electricity to the customers of the exiting retailer.

SAROLR will only act as the Retailer of Last Resort to relevant customers for a period of up to three months. This provides sufficient time for those customers to arrange a contract with a new retailer. The Commission's Energy Consumer Toolkit which incorporates the Estimator energy price comparison application, will assist consumers looking for a new retailer.

In October 2002, the Commission released an Issues Paper intended to raise issues with respect to appropriate Retailer of Last Resort (“RoLR”) arrangements to apply to customers consuming <160 MWh per annum of electricity from the onset of Full Retail Contestability (“FRC”). FRC commenced in South Australia on 1 January 2003 at which time the final tranche comprising many small businesses and all residential customers became able to choose their electricity retailer. Consideration of changes to the current RoLR arrangements were viewed as one component of the overall examination by the Commission of the regulatory framework in preparation for FRC.


In March 2005, the Commission released a Discussion Paper, which addresses a range of issues involved in developing electricity Retailer of Last Resort (RoLR) arrangements for South Australia, including processes for retailing to affected customers should a 'RoLR-event' occur, and tariffs and terms and conditions for 'RoLR contracts'.

The Discussion paper identifies a number of legal, technical and practical issues that will need to be resolved before a workable electricity RoLR scheme can be implemented for SA. The paper puts forward the issues identified and seeks comment, in an effort to progress this matter.


The Commission has amended Electricity Industry Guideline No 8 to specify the pricing arrangements which are to apply in South Australia in respect of the customers of any electricity retailer which makes an unplanned exit from the market.

The Commission has also approved the contract to apply while customers are purchasing electricity from the retailer of last resort. The SAROLR Contract will come into force automatically on the date on which Retailer of Last Resort Event occurs. The SAROLR Contract does not have to be signed to be binding.