Recently, there have been some big improvements to the way our energy system works.
New rules and regulations are finally giving more power and flexibility back to tenants, rather than the big energy companies. And there are some great initiatives in place to help you reduce your energy bills.
Below is a list of these improvements and opportunities that you’ll want to know about.
We hope they help if you’re struggling with the cost of electricity and gas.
Payment Difficulty Framework
New rules started from 01 January 2019 to help Victorians struggling with their energy bills.
The ‘Payment Difficulty Framework’ gives clear, consistent rights to help people manage their energy bills and sets out new rules that energy companies must follow.
Important parts of the Framework include:
- making disconnection a last resort
- considering a person’s circumstances before disconnection, e.g. loss of job, family violence or relationship breakdown, death or illness, or unexpected hardship
- clear guidelines for energy companies so that households get consistent support to help pay their energy bills and lower their energy costs
- giving Victorians flexibility to set up affordable payment plans that suit their needs
- providing more assistance to struggling households, such as information and support on reducing costs and access to better energy rates
For a full list of the improvements, check out the Consumer Action Law Centre’s fact sheet here.
Victorian Energy Compare
Energy Compare gives you $50 to compare your energy price with other companies.
It lets you easily compare electricity and gas offers to find the best deal for you.
The website only takes a few minutes to use and only requires:
- a recent energy bill, and
- information about your household energy use
The $50 deal ends on 30 June 2019, so head to this website to get your $50 before then.
If you’d like some help using the Energy Compare website, the Brotherhood of St Laurence can assist you, either over the phone, at special events or through home visits.
They can help households with low literacy, no or restricted computer access, English language difficulties or a lack of confidence using websites.
Victorian Default Offer
The Victorian Government is currently in the process of forcing big power companies to give Victorians a better deal on their power bills.
The ‘Victorian Default Offer’ will begin in a few months and will empower the Essential Services Commission to determine a fair price and work with energy companies to enforce it.
It will remove standing energy offers and force companies to offer a fairer price for energy – which could save you around $200 to $500 a year on average on your energy bills.
For more information about this, click here.
Concessions help low-income households pay their electricity and gas bills.
For most concessions, you will need to have one of these cards:
- Centrelink Health Care Card
- Centrelink Pensioner Concession Card
- Veterans’ Affairs Pensioner Concession Card
- Veterans’ Affairs Gold Card
To receive an energy concession, contact your energy retailer and provide your concession details.
For more information about the different types of energy concessions and how to apply for them, contact your energy retailer or call the Victorian Government’s Concessions Information Line on 1800 658 521.