We strongly support the ESC’s work to implement the VDO as a priority. Victorian households must have protected and simple access to a fair price for an essential service. In the period without price regulation many Victorian households have been gouged by energy retailers who have been left to set their own price in a market where households cannot choose to exit. The costs of competition have escalated over time.
For those struggling to make ends meet, the consequences of gouging and the escalating cost of competition are unacceptable. All Victorians deserve access to a guarantee that their energy price is fair and is not unnecessarily compounding any payment difficulty they could be experiencing. No one should be put in position where they must choose to heat or eat.
Getting a fair price without surprises should not rely on a high level of engagement in a complex market. It shouldn’t be a job to avoid getting ripped off when accessing an essential service that a household must purchase. There are many who face significant barriers to engaging in the energy market. Just one example is those who face challenges with the numeracy needed to compare a tariff, near one in two of us. It is in no way fair that people who experience barriers face a price higher than others.
190130 SUB VDO staff working paper Consumer Action