Banning Harmful Energy Sales Tactics
The Andrews Labor Government is protecting electricity and gas customers with a new ban on high pressure sales tactics, such as door-to-door sales or cold-calling, to come into effect from this Friday 31 December 2021.
These bans were legislated under the Energy Legislation Amendment (Energy Fairness) Act 2021 and build on the existing door-to-door sales bans for solar businesses under the Solar Homes Program, which came into effect from 1 September, 2021.
Prohibiting unsolicited door-to-door sales and cold-calling by energy retailers will protect vulnerable consumers from harmful and high-pressure sales practices. The legislation also bans ‘win back’ and ‘save’ offers, which will incentivise retailers to provide their best offer upfront and reduce underlying energy costs for all Victorians.
There are also new criminal penalties of $1 million for retailers who wrongfully disconnect customers knowingly or recklessly or disconnect households in a way that endangers customers on life support equipment.
The new laws deliver on the Labor Government’s Energy Fairness Plan, which was announced as a key election commitment November 2018.
Other reforms already introduced include the Victorian Default Offer (VDO), improved transparency on customer bills such as a ‘best offer requirement’, and a new Commissioner appointed to the Essential Services Commission, to focus on litigation and enforcement.
Victoria’s Energy Fairness Plan has made the energy market clearer and fairer for energy users. It has also contributed to a fall in power prices of over 10 percent this year with The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission identifying the VDO as the most significant factor in the reduction of retail margins.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio
“This is about improving transparency and competition in the energy retail market and ensuring that energy companies that do the wrong thing face appropriate consequences.”
“By banning harmful and high-pressure sales tactics we are both protecting vulnerable consumers and incentivising retailers to deliver more proactive, low-cost offers.”
“I look forward to implementing the remaining reforms as part of the Energy Fairness Plan to make sure we have a fairer and cost competitive energy market for all Victorians.”