The Andrews Labor Government has introduced new measures that will provide fairness, certainty and security for families and their energy bills, announcing changes to key legislation today.
The Labor Government’s amendments to the Electricity Industry Act 2000, Gas Industry Act 2001 and the Essential Services Commission Act 2001 will strengthen protections so that households can have greater confidence when dealing with their energy service provider.
The amended legislation bans early exit fees for fixed-term electricity and gas plans where the retailer increases the price. Until now, customers under fixed-term energy plans had no guarantee the price they signed up for would remain for the plan’s duration.
Under the new laws, if power and gas retailers increase their prices for customers on fixed-term arrangements, households can leave that arrangement without suffering early exit fees.
The Essential Services Commission (ESC) will also have greater powers to enforce compliance with energy sector consumer protections. This includes the ability for the ESC to impose a $20,000 penalty if an energy retailer has breached its licence obligations.
Energy retailers will have to provide information to the ESC for the publishing of an annual compliance and enforcement report, which will allow households to make more informed choice about their energy retailer.
The wrongful disconnection payment to customers has been doubled to $500 per day, with the ESC also able to impose a $5,000 penalty for each breach of the Energy Retail Code that has led to a wrongful disconnection.
Retailers will also be required to provide solar customers with access to the same offers as their non-solar counterparts, ensuring that incentives for investment in solar are not undermined by energy retailers imposing higher charges on solar customers.
The Government is working to ensure that the energy retail market provides positive outcomes for consumers and that families have certainty with their bills.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Energy Lily D’Ambrosio
“These changes will provide greater fairness, certainty and security for families when it comes to their energy bills.”
“The previous Liberal Government left households struggling, with energy disconnections soaring and wrongful disconnections doubling.”
“We’re putting the interests of Victorians at the front and centre of our energy retail policy.”