Telstra given green light to sell electricity and gas in Victoria

The regulator has given telco giant Telstra the green light to sell gas and electricity in Victoria, provided it meets some strict conditions.

Telstra Energy will be required to establish a specialist team to deal with enquiries and complaints for its Victorian customers, according to the Essential Services Commission (ESC).

ESC chair Kate Symons made a statement that the commission will be keeping a close eye on Telstra Energy once launched, and will be ensuring the retailer is compliant given its questionable track record in the telecommunications space.

In November 2020, Telstra was fined $50 million for ‘unconscionable sales’ to Indigenous customers that were in breach of consumer law.

During its first six months of operation, Telstra Energy’s customer base will be limited and its senior team will be held accountable for any breaches to the rules.

Since Telstra lodged its applications to operate in the energy retail market, there has been a wide range of submissions from stakeholders.

Ms Symons stated certain measures will need to be in place to protect energy customers.

“We conducted consultation with these stakeholders over a six-week period and considered Telstra Energy’s response to this feedback,” she said.

Some of the protective measures outlined in discussions with stakeholders included Telstra Energy providing additional support to Indigenous Australians, seniors and those relying on life support equipment, as well as improving processes on handling customers experiencing financial hardship.

In its response to stakeholder submissions, Telstra stated it is ‘committed to change’ and will be implementing numerous procedures to ensure it is fit to sell power across the state.

Head of Telstra Energy Ben Burge said the telco is looking forward to expanding into the power retail market.

“We’re pleased we are now licensed to retail electricity and gas in Victoria,” he said. “These licenses add to the energy and gas licenses issued by the Australian Energy Regulator in November, allowing us to operate in New South Wales, South East Queensland and South Australia.”

Mr Burge noted that Telstra Energy is committed to driving change across the sector and that these provisions by the regulator will give customers peace of mind if they’re thinking about switching.

“Retailing energy is a natural extension of our involvement and investment in the Australian energy sector over several years now. These licenses will help us accelerate the penetration of renewable energy, which is a key element of our overall climate ambition.

“We note the licences include some special conditions specific to Telstra Energy. These will help provide Victorians more comfort in our market entry. We look forward to bringing more competition to this sector.”

Telstra Energy was officially granted its Victorian electricity and gas licences on 15 December 2021.

Compare Electricity Prices in Victoria

Check out some of the best prices below from other energy providers operating in Melbourne. Be sure to use our free comparison tool for quotes specific to your area.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. Costs are based on the Citipower network in Melbourne but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4000kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area and to see other products in our database that may be available. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision. The next three tabs feature products exclusively from AGL, EnergyAustralia and Origin.

Here are the AGL Energy plans on our database for Victoria. These are products from a referral partner†. These costs are based on the Citipower network in Melbourne but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4000kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area and to see other products in our database that may be available. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Here are the EnergyAustralia plans on our database for Victoria. These are products from a referral partner†. These costs are based on the Citipower network in Melbourne but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4000kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area and to see other products in our database that may be available. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Here are the Origin Energy plans on our database for Victoria. These are products from a referral partner†. These costs are based on the Citipower energy network in Melbourne but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4000kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area and to see other products in our database that may be available. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Should Aussies get excited about Telstra Energy?

While it’s still a little early to get excited about what Telstra Energy may have in store for consumers, the prospect of cleaner power and being rewarded for bundling household utilities could be a big drawcard said Canstar Blue’s Telco Editor, Tara Donnelly.

“While many energy providers have now moved into offering telco services, Telstra’s imminent energy launch marks a shift in the opposite direction,” she said. “The company has confirmed it will focus on clean, carbon neutral options for customers, which could set it apart from competing dual telco and energy providers, such as Origin, AGL and Dodo.”

Ms Donnelly explained that it may come down to offering its large telco customer base with perks and exclusive benefits to win them over.

“However, it’s still too early to know if customers should be excited about the prospect of a one-stop energy, internet and mobile deal from Telstra. If the telco giant is planning to offer existing customers incentives to tack on electricity, it may be worthwhile to bundle your utilities.

“But Telstra isn’t known for being the cheapest option for mobile or internet, so it’s possible its energy pricing structure may also reflect its status as a premium provider.”


Image credit: ArliftAtoz2205/Shutterstock.com

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