Consumer Action Law Centre welcomes the opportunity to comment on the Victorian Government’s review of the Order in Council (the Order) that was used to give effect to the Victorian Default Offer (the VDO).
We have long supported the recommendation of the Independent Review of the Electricity & Gas Retail Markets in Victoria (known as the Thwaites Review) to establish a basic, unconditional, regulated price for energy and have been involved in the development and setting of the default offer for electricity.
We believe all Victorians have the right to choose not to engage in a retail market which they are unable to exit. For these households, and particularly where people may be experiencing financial hardship, it is critical that people have protected access to a simple and fair price for an essential service.
Overall, we consider that the introduction of the VDO has been effective in achieving the objective of ensuring that Victorians unable or unwilling to engage in the electricity retail market receive a fair price for their electricity service. This is clear from the continual downward trend in annual bills for customers on standing offers since the introduction of the VDO.
Given this outcome, we are of the view that the introduction of the VDO has been an overall positive for Victorian consumers, and therefore consider the VDO Order in Council can largely be retained as currently written. Despite the success of the implementation of the VDO to date, we consider that there are several improvements which can be made.
As part of this review therefore. we recommend the following changes be made to the Order in Council to further improve consumer outcomes under future VDO determinations.
Read our full submission (PDF).220428 Submission – Review of VDO Order in Council