Energy price rises announced today will hit Victorians hard as the Consumer Action Law Centre warns energy companies to remember that their product is an essential service.
“Over 60,000 Victorians have had their power disconnected in the past year. The last thing we need is unfair pricing driving families to despair,” says Gerard Brody, CEO of Consumer Action Law Centre.
“The energy companies evade laws prohibiting late payment penalties by offering fake discounts. They raise their standard rates and then try to pull one on us by pretending they’re offering a discount for on-time payment.
“This just means those who can least afford it are getting gouged. Even if you’re one day late, you could be paying up to 50 percent more for your energy”.
Brody also says energy contracts are still too confusing.
“Energy companies benefit from a confusing market where Victorians understandably get overwhelmed by the sheer volume and complexity of offers. They know that once they have us on the hook, choice paralysis will kick in and means they can take us for granted. The system is stacked against us.”
Consumer Action says a proposed review into the retail energy market, announced by the State Government this week, is a good opportunity to fix many of these issues.
“This review to be headed by John Thwaites and Terry Mulder will have a lot of work to do. Hopefully, it’s a review that leads to real action that benefits Victorians” says Brody.
The Essential Services Commission released its 2015-16 Victorian Energy Market Report today, finding that all retailers offer products with conditional discounting such as pay on time. See: https://www.esc.vic.gov.au/electricity-and-gas/market-performance-and-reporting/victorian-energy-market-report#tabs-container2