The state government of Victoria introduced new rules for solar companies and energy retailers banning door-to-door sales of products and announcing penalties of up to $ 1 million for retailers who falsely disconnect the electricity of vulnerable Victorians.
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The Victorian government introduced its new Energy Fairness Bill to parliament to “protect Victorian households and businesses from aggressive and exploitative practices.”
The new legislation will ban door-to-door sales for solar companies, electricity and gas retailers, viewing the practice as “high pressure selling tactics”. For solar companies, the ban will take effect on September 1, 2021, while for electricity retailers, it will be postponed until the end of the year.
“We are warning energy companies,” Victoria Minister of Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio said.
The new state government legislation comes after the company Vic Solar fined $ 3 million for “predatory” tactics earlier this month. In March, Powershop’s Kogan Energy brand also fined $ 300,000 after the Victoria Essential Services Commission discovered that the energy retailer was offering solar customers more expensive electricity plans than non-solar customers.
Nor are the changes limited to the state of Victoria, the Clean Energy Regulator, a Commonwealth government agency, which spent the first half of this year, introducing a series of new tools, rules and working groups to oversee them.
Victoria Energy Equity Bill
The new legislation focuses attention primarily on retailers, rather than solar companies, with its heaviest measure being a penalty of up to $ 1 million for energy retailers who organize the unwarranted disconnection of vulnerable customers. . The measure, the government said in its statement, is intended to “protect customers in particular who are on payment plans or who need electricity for life support.”
The Victoria government is also introducing penalties of up to $ 1 million for gas and electricity licensees who provide false or misleading information to the Essential Services Commission.
In addition, the bill prohibits “save” and “grab” offers, such as short-term discounts that end up costing customers more in the long term. “This deceptive tactic is used by retailers to stifle competition and by banning them, customers will be able to judge for the best price in the market – and not just for a limited time,” the Victorian government said.
He added that the new legislation aims to make the energy retailer market fairer and more transparent.
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