Proposed Energy Rule Changes In Victoria “To Build Trust”

Victoria’s Essential Services Commission has outlined proposed changes to the state’s energy rules that would see retailers required to tell customers about their best offers.

The ESC’s draft decision is the outcome of key recommendations of last year’s independent review of the Victorian retail energy market.

“There is now overwhelming evidence that the retail energy market is not delivering good outcomes for customers,” said ESC Chairperson Ron Ben-David. “Our draft decision isn’t just about providing more information to customers, in reality we’re making retailers take responsibility for what happens to their customers.”

Key proposals would require gas and electricity retailers to:

  • communicate a ‘best offer’ to each customers at least twice a year via their gas/electricity bill – and how to access it.
  • provide advance notice of any changes to a customer’s prices, discounts or benefits
  • honour a new customer entitlement to provide clear advice to help the customer find the gas/electricity plan that suits them best

Among the data used to determine the “best offer” mentioned above would be both consumption and export data. This is important to owners of solar power systems.

“In this way, the best offer determination accounts for both the cost to the customer of the energy consumed, and any revenue received from the feed-in tariffs associated with the offers being compared,” states the ESC.

Forcing Energy Retailers To “Come Clean”

Retailers will also be required to be upfront with customers about any gotchas contained in energy contracts that could result in a customer paying more than they expect.

Last year’s independent review of the Victorian retail energy market was commissioned by the Andrews Labor Government as part of its efforts to drive down energy prices.

“These changes will force retailers to come clean with consumers who are paying too much for energy,” said Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio

The ESC’s draft decision document can be downloaded here (PDF). The Commission is inviting feedback on the proposed changes to the energy rules, which can be submitted until Friday, 5 October 2018. The final decision is expected in October, with 1 July 2019 being the proposed commencement date for code amendments.

Solar households in Victoria on the hunt for new electricity plan can compare electricity deals here on SolarQuotes. Just bear in mind the plan with the highest feed in tariff isn’t always the best – check for devil in the detail.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.


  1. Dennis Kavanagh says

    If everyone swaps to the cheapest offer from their current retailer then the retailer’s average income per customer will drop leading to the need for the retailer to increase its rates to stay profitable.

    This proposed measure still won’t give a customer information about the best offers from all the other retailers.

    • While this is probably a step in the right direction, the issue that competing offers are not being made visible, as you rightly point out, is a big one. The other issue is the difficulty of comparing offers. Unless you are willing to sit down and do some spreadsheet work, it is almost impossible to tell which offer will actually be the best for you. Most people just find this too intimidating. Even if you are able to do the analysis, it can entail a lot of of work.

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