Independent panel recommends methods to drive down Victoria’s energy prices

The Victorian government has released a report  by an independent panel investigating Victoria’s gas and electricity retail markets. The panel has recommended a range of measures to drive down power prices, protect consumers and put people first.

Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate change, Lily D’Amrosio welcomed the release of the independent review into the retail electricity and gas retail markets in Victoria, commissioned by the state Government.

The review – undertaken by John Thwaites, Terry Mulder and Patricia Faulkner – covers research into energy retail prices, and extensive consultation with consumers and industry.

It looks at whether the electricity and gas retail markets are operating in the best interests of Victorians, and provides 11 recommendations aimed at getting a better deal for Victorians.

The recommendations are as follows:

  1. Basic service offer: require all retailers to provide an offer that is not greater than the regulated price
  2. Abolish standing offers
  3. Marketing information on prices to be easily comparable
  4. Contract periods, practices and variations to be clear and fair
  5. Promoting access to smart meter data to assist customers to manage bills and increase energy efficiency
  6. Protecting low income and vulnerable customers with increased assistance and market awareness
  7. Brokerage and collective bargaining on behalf of low income and vulnerable customers
  8. Monitoring the market via the Essential Services Commission (ESC)
  9. An energy market code based around the customer following an ESC review
  10. Full coverage of new energy services via expanded powers to the Energy Water Ombudsman Victoria
  11. Request Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Energy Council to review the structure of the energy market to ensure its working in the long-term interest of customers