Overview

The Essential Services Commission is the energy regulator in Victoria. The commission's principal objective is to protect the interests of all Victorian energy customers. One way the commission does this is by setting the rules that energy businesses operating in Victoria have to follow.

The commission already has a framework of rules in place that require energy retailers to provide support to residential customers who are having difficulty paying their bills. However, as the coronavirus pandemic is such a significant and unprecedented event, the commission is considering if there is anything further that energy businesses should be doing to support customers as we move into the recovery phase.

The commission is proposing to make some specific changes quickly that are aimed at helping both residential and small business customers. The commission is also interested in your views on whether there are other things that energy businesses should be required to do at this time to support their customers.

What are we proposing to do?

The commission is proposing three main changes to the rules energy retailers have to follow:

Residential customers facing a temporary financial crisis can apply for a Utility Relief Grant from the Department of Health and Human Services, via their energy retailer. While the commission does not play a direct role in how this grant scheme works, it is proposing to issue a guideline to make sure retailers do all they can to help eligible customers apply for a grant.

If customers miss a bill due date and have more than $55 of debt their retailer must offer them support known as tailored assistance. The commission is proposing that retailers must conduct a tariff check for all customers who receive tailored assistance, to let the customer know if there is a better tariff for them.

The existing payment difficulty rules the commission has only applies to residential customers. However, we know that the pandemic has put additional financial stress on some Victorian small businesses, particularly those with restricted operations. The commission is proposing that retailers will have to offer all small businesses facing financial stress some form of payment assistance, including flexibility in paying their energy bills, payment plans to repay debt developed during the pandemic and assistance to lower ongoing energy costs.

Have your say

The commission is seeking your feedback on the three proposals in our draft decision. You can provide feedback on this page until 14 July 2020 by:

  • responding to the survey for residential and small business customers.
  • providing your comments in the general comments form
  • uploading a submission document, and

Consultation closes on 14 July 2020.

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

Customer survey

Collection notice

As part of making a submission, we need you to provide personal information, such as your name, email address, town of residence 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. This process may involve publishing your personal information (your name, not your address). You can request anonymity by selecting the relevant tickbox.

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.

Requesting anonymity

You can request anonymity by selecting the relevant tickbox on this page. Depending on the circumstances, requesting anonymity may affect the weight we can give to your submission. Information that influences our decisions generally needs to be disclosed so stakeholders can understand the reasons for our findings.

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. We regulate Victoria’s energy, water and transport sectors, and administer the local government Fair Go Rates system.

General comments

General comments

You have 255 characters left.

Please enter your email to receive confirmation of your submission and to stay updated about this project.

What best describes you? Required

Refer to our collection notice on this page.

It is our policy to publish all submissions. Please tick if you would like your submission to be anonymous.

Collection notice

As part of making a submission, we need you to provide personal information, such as your name, email address, town of residence 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. This process may involve publishing your personal information (your name, not your address). You can request anonymity by selecting the relevant tickbox.

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.

Requesting anonymity

You can request anonymity by selecting the relevant tickbox on this page. Depending on the circumstances, requesting anonymity may affect the weight we can give to your submission. Information that influences our decisions generally needs to be disclosed so stakeholders can understand the reasons for our findings.

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. We regulate Victoria’s energy, water and transport sectors, and administer the local government Fair Go Rates system.

Upload submission

Upload a formal submission

You have 255 characters left.

Please enter your email to receive confirmation of your submission and to stay updated about this project.

What best describes you? Required

Refer to the collection notice on this page.

It is our policy to publish all submissions. Please tick if you would like your submission to be anonymous.

Collection notice

As part of making a submission, we need you to provide personal information, such as your name, email address, town of residence 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. This process may involve publishing your personal information (your name, not your address). You can request anonymity by selecting the relevant tickbox.

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.

Requesting anonymity

You can request anonymity by selecting the relevant tickbox on this page. Depending on the circumstances, requesting anonymity may affect the weight we can give to your submission. Information that influences our decisions generally needs to be disclosed so stakeholders can understand the reasons for our findings.

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. We regulate Victoria’s energy, water and transport sectors, and administer the local government Fair Go Rates system.