Victorian Default Offer Bill passes Upper House

default offer

Legislation to set a Victorian Default Offer has passed the Upper House, abolishing more costly standing offers and requiring energy retailers to offer a “fairer” price on energy.

The legislation empowers the Essential Services Commission (ESC) to determine a price and work with retailers to enforce it.

The ESC recently released draft advice to the Government on setting the Victorian Default Offer and recommended a price that would save a typical residential customer between $390 and $520 per year, and a typical small business customer between $1,800 and $2,300 per year.

From July 1, Victorian households and small businesses on standing offers will automatically be placed on the Victorian Default Offer – there are currently more than 145,000 Victorian families and around 45,000 small businesses currently on the costly offers.

Related article: Energy retailers to work with Victorian Government

An expert panel has been established to advise the Government on determining a fair price for electricity – the panel will work with the ESC to ensure Victorian consumers are front and centre of the Government’s reforms.

The expert panel will be chaired by Claire Thomas and as well as regulatory economist Dr Kris Funston, consumer advocate Catriona Lowe and the Secretary of the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning John Bradley.

The new measure is part of the Labor Government’s final response to the bipartisan Independent Review of the Electricity & Gas Retail Markets in Victoria.

The Victorian Default Offer builds on the Government’s work to help Victorians take control of their energy costs by putting solar panels on 770,000 homes – more than 30,000 Victorian households have applied for the program.

Minister for Energy Lily D’Ambrosio said, “This is one of the biggest reforms to the energy sector in over a decade – only a Labor Government is delivering the changes needed to hold the big energy companies to account”.

Related article: Victoria forces energy retailers to come clean