Victorian Default Offer price drop will help thousands of families but more needs to be done

Consumer Action Law Centre CEO Stephanie Tonkin says the Essential Services Commission’s (ESC) decision to lower the Victorian Default Offer (VDO) price is welcome but doesn’t go far enough to help the people we are speaking to with ballooning energy debt and struggling to afford other cost of living increases.

“This year’s reduction in the VDO of 6% or an average of $100 over the year helps, especially in the context of continued spikes in everyday costs,” Ms Tonkin said.

“I am very supportive of the VDO and the ESC’s important role in promoting the long-term interests of Victorian consumers to provide a simple and trusted electricity price and safety net, particularly for consumers who can’t engage with the market,” she said.

Juanita Pope, CEO of the Victorian Council of Social Services, said, “this modest reduction will save households about $2 a week, and be quickly obliterated by rising expenses like food, rent and petrol.

“Given last year’s VDO decision increased baseline bills by $352, prices are still going in the wrong direction.”

Network costs are keeping the VDO high following the 25% hike last year.

“In the face of these costs, we are focusing on identifying examples of retailers’ poor treatment of customers in hardship and breaches of the Payment Difficulty Framework, including failing to support customers to access grants and concessions they’re entitled to, which can meaningfully bring down energy costs and debt,” Ms Tonkin said.

“We hope to see retailers take the lead in providing information of lower offers to their customers who may be languishing on energy prices not fit for their needs.”

As calls to the National Debt Helpline continue to increase, many Victorians are struggling to afford their energy bill. This is why it is crucial that the Default Offer is an accessible price for all Victorians, regardless of their income.

“Demand for our services has grown substantially over the past year; we are receiving call after call to the National Debt Helpline from people in serious financial difficulty.

´Debt is growing, essentials are becoming unaffordable, and cases are more complex as people struggle with the impacts of financial stress,” Ms Tonkin said.


Media contact: Mark Pearce, Media and Communications Adviser, 0413 299 567,

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Skip to content