Regulator abolishes ‘bait and switch’ energy deals in Victoria

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Victoria’s energy regulator has finally put an end to the ‘bait and switch’ tactics used by some energy companies for years.

This has seen many customers sign up to cheap energy plans only for prices to increase within as little as a few months.

In practice, the reforms will look like capped price adjustments for retailers, meaning they will only be able to review their prices once a year.

The new rules, which are due to come into effect in July 2020, have arisen from the Victorian Government’s 2017 review of electricity and gas retail markets.

This comes alongside a raft of other changes proposed by the Essential Services Commission (ESC) to make energy contracts fairer, as part of a reform program.


ESC chairperson, Kate Symons, has claimed that the reforms are designed to make energy contracts simpler and provide customers with more clarity around their billing.

“Up until now, customers could sign up to what looks like a great energy deal only to have that deal disappear in just a few weeks or months,” she said.

“From 1 July, energy retailers will not be able to increase prices more than once a year, and must maintain any discounts, credits or rebates for the entire length of a customer’s contract.”

Ms Symons also said that by regulating price changes and capping pay-on-time discounts, Victorian energy customers will be able to enjoy more price stability.

“We are changing the energy rules to help untie the knots found in energy contracts that have confused and frustrated consumers. These reforms will help Victorians have confidence in the deal they’re signing up to, knowing they will be protected and there won’t be any nasty surprises,” she said.

What else is changing in Victoria?

Victorian customers can also expect these changes in the energy retail market:

  • All advertised electricity offers will need to include a comparison to the Victorian Default Offer.
  • At the end of an energy contract, customers will be rolled onto either the Victorian Default Offer for electricity or best offer for gas at the end of a contract.

The energy regulator will also consult separately on plans to stop retailers from being able to back-bill customers for more than four months, which differs from the current nine months allowed.

Energy plans in VIC

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.

Image credits: ymgerman/shutterstock.com

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