15/12/2016 - 23:36

Origin makes play for WA gas market

15/12/2016 - 23:36

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Perth’s domestic gas users could have a choice between four retailers by July next year, with Sydney-based utility Origin Energy putting forward an application to the Economic Regulation Authority to enter the market.

Origin makes play for WA gas market
Origin Energy would be the fourth company to enter the retail gas market in WA.

Perth’s domestic gas users could have a choice between four retailers by July next year, with Sydney-based utility Origin Energy putting forward an application to the Economic Regulation Authority to enter the market.

The application comes just a matter of weeks after fellow Sydney utility AGL Energy announced it would be the third entrant into the retail gas market in Western Australia, following Wesfarmers subsidiary Kleenheat and original player Alinta Energy.

Kleenheat has won more than 10 per cent of the market, which comprises about 700,000 users, while AGL promised to spend up to $100 million on a marketing campaign to reach a similar slice by 2019.

Origin did not immediately respond to a request for comment by Business News on Thursday, but some detail can be taken from its application.

The company will focus on the coastal distribution region between Geraldton and Bunbury, the most populous area of the state, although it did flag that it would later consider other regions.

The application said the move would be focused on small business and households using less than 1 terajoule of gas annually.

“Origin provides energy to over 4.2 million households and businesses across the country each day,” the company said in its application.

“Our diverse product and service offerings include electricity, natural gas and LPG.

“We are also a leading Australian provider of low-carbon products such as green power, green gas and solar.”

The ERA said public comment would be open for about a month.

“The grant of a licence is subject to the ERA being satisfied that it would not be contrary to the public interest to do so and that the applicant has, and is likely to retain; or will acquire within a reasonable time after the grant, and is then likely to retain, the financial and technical resources to undertake the activities authorised by the licence,” the regulator said in a statement.

It comes less than a month after Origin announced it would spin off its Perth Basin energy assets as part of a divestment of most of its upstream business, which would be listed on the ASX.

Energy Minister Mike Nahan told Business News he welcomed increased competition in the domestic gas market as it was a win for WA consumers.

"Because of reforms to WA’s gas market, West Australians continue to have the opportunity to choose their gas provider and achieve substantial savings off their energy bill," Dr Nahan said. 

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