The Victorian Energy Market report released by the Essential Services Commission only highlights how important it is for customers to speak to their retailer so they can get a better deal, the Australian Energy Council said today.
The AEC’s Chief Executive Sarah McNamara said, “Retailers do notify customers if there is a cheaper deal available to them, but they are not allowed to change your offer without your express consent. It means if your retailer alerts you to a cheaper deal, you need to call them to take up the offer.”
“The AEC also encourages customers to test the market by checking the State Government’s comparator site, Victorian Energy Compare, which can help to see if they can get a cheaper deal.
“When the ESC introduced the Victorian Default Offer (VDO) the AEC raised concerns it would reduce incentives for customers to engage with the market and get a cheaper deal,” said Ms McNamara.
“The report published by the ESC today confirms this. The VDO is not the cheapest offer in the market, and customers can make significant savings by shopping around.
“The Victorian regulatory framework for energy retailers is one of the strictest in the world, and the ESC has made multiple changes to the rules in recent years designed to make it easier for customers to engage.
“Not all of these efforts have been well designed. For example, the Victorian Government’s proposed laws prohibiting retailers from proactively making offers to customers will further reduce engagement in the market, and result in fewer customers switching to cheaper deals.
“It is imperative that the Government develops clear strategies to ensure that its regulatory framework supports customers to make good choices rather than block their access to cheaper deals,” Ms McNamara said.
“If anyone is worried about paying their energy bill, they should speak to their retailer. They are ready and willing to help customers experiencing difficulties.”
On disconnections, Ms McNamara, said they occur rarely and as a last resort, only after a number of different processes have been followed to try and engage with a customer over their outstanding bill. Any customer who is experiencing payment difficulty and working with their retailer will not be disconnected.
About the Australian Energy Council
The Council represents 21 major electricity and downstream natural gas businesses operating in the competitive wholesale and retail energy markets. These businesses collectively generate the overwhelming majority of electricity in Australia, sell gas and electricity to over 10 million homes and businesses, and are major investors in renewable energy generation.
The peak body for energy retailers, the Australian Energy Council, energy companies and a broad range of consumer advocates have undertaken a unique collaboration to develop Best Practice for Energy Retailer Assistance .
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