Overview

The Essential Services Commission is strengthening protections for all energy customers by amending the rules around contracts and discounts that Victorian energy retailers must follow.

In December 2018, the government asked the commission to implement recommendation 4 of the final report from the independent review of electricity and gas retail markets in Victoria, that was released in August 2017. This recommendation relates to ensuring that contracts and discounts are clear and fair.

In June 2019, we released an issues paper that presented some options for implementing this recommendation. We consulted on these options in June and July 2019. Based on the feedback we received, we have developed a draft decision which proposes a number of draft proposals for implementation.

How does this affect you?

These changes intend to help customers find their way through the energy retail market by ensuring that available information is clear and fair and provide protections for customers who do not engage in the market.

What are we proposing to do?

The commission's draft decision proposes a number of ways to strengthen customer protections around contracts and discounts. Key proposals in the draft decision include:

  • limiting when retailers can change prices
  • ensuring discounts last the whole length of a customer's contract
  • putting protections in place for customers who don’t engage at the end of their contract
  • limiting what you can be charged for missing a payment deadline
  • requiring retailers to market gas and electricity offers clearly, and
  • limiting retailers’ ability to bill customers for amounts not previously charged for.

Have your say on how we implement these changes

We are seeking your feedback on our draft decision. You can provide feedback on this page by:

  1. providing general comments
  2. uploading a submission, or
  3. responding directly to our proposals.

Submissions have now closed.

Your feedback will inform our final decision which will be made in February 2020.

General comments

General comments

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What is your interest in this project? Required
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Refer to our privacy statement on this page.

The survey form is now closed. Thanks for your contributions.

Privacy statement

As part of making a submission, we need you to provide personal information, such as your name, email address, and postcode. We will use this information to send you updates about this review.

It is our policy to publish all submissions to reviews on the Essential Services Commission website. You can request anonymity by selecting the relevant tickbox.

When we publish a submission, we also include some details about the submitter (your name, not your address). We treat all submissions as public information unless the submitter has asked us to.

We may also collect personal information when you email us with a query. Aside from any exceptions in relevant privacy legislation, we will not use or disclose the information you provide for any purpose other than to progress and respond to your query.

You have the right to access personal information we hold about you. We may ask you to pay a small fee for this. You can also request that we correct your personal information in our records at no charge.

Read more information about our submissions policy.

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. The commission regulates certain Victorian energy businesses (including electricity generators, transmission companies, distributors and retailers) through a combination of legislation, licences, and codes and guidelines. View more on how we regulate.

Upload submission

Upload a submission

You have 255 characters left.

Please enter your email to receive confirmation of your submission

What is your interest in this project? Required
Would you like your submission to be anonymous? Required

Refer to the privacy statement to this page

The survey form is now closed. Thanks for your contributions.

Privacy statement

As part of making a submission, we need you to provide personal information, such as your name, email address, and postcode. We will use this information to send you updates about this review.

It is our policy to publish all submissions to reviews on the Essential Services Commission website. You can request anonymity by selecting the relevant tickbox.

When we publish a submission, we also include some details about the submitter (your name, not your address). We treat all submissions as public information unless the submitter has asked us to.

We may also collect personal information when you email us with a query. Aside from any exceptions in relevant privacy legislation, we will not use or disclose the information you provide for any purpose other than to progress and respond to your query.

You have the right to access personal information we hold about you. We may ask you to pay a small fee for this. You can also request that we correct your personal information in our records at no charge.

Read more information about our submissions policy.

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. The commission regulates certain Victorian energy businesses (including electricity generators, transmission companies, distributors and retailers) through a combination of legislation, licences, and codes and guidelines. View more on how we regulate.

Comment on specific proposals

Please provide comments on each of our draft decision proposals.

Retailers must present their gas and electricity offers clearly so it is easy for customers to compare plans. This includes clearly showing any conditions customers must meet to get a discount. When a retailer advertises any electricity offer, it must say how the price of that offer compares to the price of the Victorian Default Offer.

Customers will know in advance exactly when to expect any price changes, and will have certainty that their prices won’t change at other times.

Retailers will not be able to decrease the value of a discount. Customers will no longer risk paying more by having a discount expire part-way through their contract.

For electricity, this is the Victorian Default Offer. For gas, as there is no Victorian Default Offer, this is the retailer’s best offer. This gives customers who do not engage at the end of a contract some price protection and certainty over what will happen.

This ensures that customers are not disproportionately penalised for paying a bill late. Retailers must also honour pay-on-time discounts for customers receiving tailored assistance who miss a bill pay-by date.

Currently this is nine months.

You have 255 characters left.

Please enter your email to receive confirmation of your submission.

What is your interest in this project? Required

Would you like your submission to be publicly anonymous? Required

Refer to our privacy statement on this page.

The survey form is now closed. Thanks for your contributions.

Privacy statement

As part of making a submission, we need you to provide personal information, such as your name, email address, and postcode. We will use this information to send you updates about this review.

It is our policy to publish all submissions to reviews on the Essential Services Commission website. You can request anonymity by selecting the relevant tickbox.

When we publish a submission, we also include some details about the submitter (your name, not your address). We treat all submissions as public information unless the submitter has asked us to.

We may also collect personal information when you email us with a query. Aside from any exceptions in relevant privacy legislation, we will not use or disclose the information you provide for any purpose other than to progress and respond to your query.

You have the right to access personal information we hold about you. We may ask you to pay a small fee for this. You can also request that we correct your personal information in our records at no charge.

Read more information about our submissions policy.