Labor’s Victorian Default Offer (VDO) took effect from 1 July 2019. Under the scheme, all electricity retailers were required to offer a standard default offer, set by the Essential Services Commission, alongside their other contracts.
The Andrews Labor Government told Victorians that this policy was intended to lower power prices, with the Minister saying that “Access to affordable energy is vital for all Victorians…..”
“This Bill is a key part of the Government’s broader package of reforms aimed at making Victoria’s energy retail markets simpler and fairer, and cutting the cost of energy for Victorian households and small businesses.”
But this has been far from reality.
New research published by the St. Vincent de Paul Society shows that, between July 2019 and January 2020, power bills for customers on the VDO went up, not down.
According to the report, the hardest hit customers have seen price increases of $130 a year, or 8 per cent, since the VDO was introduced.
These increases are not mere statistics, they hurt real people, making life harder for Victorian families.
The Essential Services Commission (ESC) last year found almost 1,000 Victorians a week were disconnected from electricity due to unpaid bills, and almost 100,000 customers took part in ‘hardship programs’.
The ESC found that a third of customers entering hardship programmes were already at least $1,500 in debt.
Power prices are going up and Victorians are suffering. Five years of rising power prices under Daniel Andrews have shown that every introduced policy that we says will lower prices actually end up adding to the household bill.
Comments attributable to the Shadow Minister for Energy, Renewables and Resources, Ryan Smith:
“St. Vincent de Paul has found that many customers on the Victorian Default Offer have seen their prices go up by $130 or 8 per cent since its introduction. This proves Daniel Andrews VDO is not working to bring down power prices.
“According to the Essential Services Commission, average residential power prices across the board have increased from $1,522 to $1,881, or 23 per cent since 30 June 2015. Daniel Andrews is unable to get power prices under control.”