Recently, the Victorian Government amended Victoria’s energy laws to expand the protections for energy customers. The Energy Legislation Amendment (Consumer Protection) Act came into effect on 1 January 2016. This has resulted in some amendments to the Electricity Industry Act 2000, Gas Industry Act 2001 and Essential Services Commission Act 2001. This Hot Topic provides a summary of the key changes to Victorian energy consumer protections and links to the Essential Services Commission (ESC)’s resources.
- The Wrongful Disconnection Payment (WDP) has been increased from $250 per day (or part thereof) to $500 per day (or part thereof), capped at $3,500 (or 7 days) if the customer does not contact their energy retailer. The WDP amount is unlimited if the customer contacts their retailer within 14 days of the disconnection. This applies to wrongful disconnections completed after 1 January 2016. EWOV has a fact sheet and video about energy disconnection.
- Early termination fees (or exit fees) are prohibited during fixed-term contracts if the price, discounts or terms and conditions are varied during the contract’s term. This applies to energy contracts entered into from 1 January 2016 onwards. EWOV has marketing and switching energy retailer fact sheets and a video.
- Renewable energy customers (typically solar customers) must be offered the same tariffs and contract terms and conditions, as non-renewable energy customers. This applies to contracts entered into after 1 January 2016.
The ESC has more information on its website, including: