Consumer Action Law Centre (Consumer Action) commends recent action by the Victorian Government as a significant step forward in making it easier and fairer for Victorians to get a better, more affordable energy deal.
Nine of the eleven recommendations made by the Independent Review into Victoria’s electricity and gas retail markets, led by John Thwaites, Patricia Faulkner and Terry Mulder during 2017, will be implemented, and further consultation will be conducted on the remaining two.
“The headline recommendation from the Review, which will be the subject of further consultation, was the establishment of a Basic Service Offer that would create a fair price guarantee available to all Victorian Households” said Denise Boyd, Director of Policy and Campaigns at Consumer Action.
“We are encouraged that the Essential Services Commission will be able to monitor the market and start work on a reference price that will let Victorians know there’s a better deal available.”
“Our financial counsellors regularly assist people with energy bills that are spiralling out of control and will be relieved to know we might finally see an end to misleading ‘pay on time discounts’ (recommendation 4e) that can often add up to $100 to a quarterly bill for paying only a day late.”
“We are also encouraged by attention to the concessions schemes that help people struggling with high bills to avoid getting into energy debt.”
“Victorians are accessing their energy from all sorts of new technology and they still need affordable and dependable supply. That’s why it’s great that the government intends to further expand the Energy and Water Ombudsman (Victoria)’s powers to capture emerging businesses, products and services as they arise.”
Consumer Action is available for comment on the Government’s interim response to the review.