The Thwaites-Mulder review into Victoria’s power markets provides an action blueprint for the Victorian Government to ease skyrocketing prices, according to the state’s peak social advocacy body, the Victorian Council of Social Service.
The independent review’s final report contains a welcome emphasis on protecting low income and vulnerable customers, and providing greater transparency and information to all power users.
“This report comes at a critical time for Victoria,” VCOSS CEO Emma King said.
“Power companies have been pulling the wool over customer’s eyes for years.”
“Prices have ballooned 119% over the past decade.”
“Victoria’s energy markets are in crisis and we need a crisis response.”
Ms King said the report’s call for the State Government to force energy retailers to advertise their offers in dollar terms—not confusing discount percentages—is “a potential game changer”.
“If done properly, this would help customers understand the price they’ll actually pay.”
VCOSS is also encouraged by the report’s support for a brokerage scheme to help concession card holders shift to a better power deal.
VCOSS has long argued for this measure, however we believe this service should be available to all Victorians in order to drive genuine competition across the whole market.
Victorians also stand to benefit from a proposed capping of late payment penalties.
Ms King said the Victorian Government should be applauded for commissioning this independent inquiry and devoting time to consider the report’s recommendations carefully.
“However, consumers need to action now.”
“Victorians are literally freezing at night and skipping meals to pay their bills.
“There’s no time to waste.”
VCOSS made a formal submission to the Thwaites-Mulder inquiry in March, arguing the Victorian Government should:
- ESTABLISH an independent energy broker for residential customers.
- FORCE retailers to display actual energy prices
- BAN the display of discount percentages in retailers’ advertising.
- INTRODUCE a simple, low cost energy offer specifically for low income and vulnerable households, and
- COLLECT more data about retailer costs and customer outcomes.
VCOSS will work with the government to ensure energy is more affordable for Victorians on low-incomes or facing other forms of disadvantage, and that consumers can easily find and shift to the best power deal on offer.