The Essential Services Commission is implementing the Victorian Government’s commitment to reduce the allowable back-billing period for energy retailers from nine months to four months. This change will ensure that Victorian consumers can only be back-billed for up to four months of past energy use when they have done nothing wrong.

The commission has published a final decision that introduces the obligations on both energy distributors and retailers to ensure customers are not back billed for more than four months when they are not at fault.

The new allowable back-billing period will take effect from 1 January 2021.

Consultation on this project has now closed. The commission thanks all stakeholders for their involvement and contributions to its review process.

How we engaged

The commission sought submissions on the draft decision from the public via this Engage Victoria consultation page. We accepted both general comments and uploaded submissions.

What we did with your feedback

The commission amended its proposed approach in response to some feedback provided during the consultation phase of this project. The final decision paper summarises the feedback received and how we considered that feedback when developing our final decision.

Key facts from our final decision

Retailers will only be able to recover any amount undercharged in the four months before they notify the customer, unless the undercharging was a result of the customer’s fault or unlawful act or omission.

An electricity or gas distributor will not be able to recover charges from a retailer if the retailer is unable to recover those charges from a customer.

However, a distributor can back-bill a retailer beyond four months when a retailer is at some fault for the undercharge (the retailer would be unable to recover more than four months of undercharged amounts from the customer in this situation).

The code amendments giving effect to the back-billing rule change will take effect on 1 January 2021. These proposals require changes to the:

About us

The Essential Services Commission is an independent regulator that promotes the long term interests of Victorian consumers with respect to the price, quality and reliability of essential services. We regulate Victoria’s energy, water and transport sectors, and administer the local government Fair Go Rates system.