Consumer Action will:
- Advocate for the ability of consumers to engage in the competitive retail energy market
- Engage with regulators and rule makers to secure pricing and product frameworks that benefit consumers
- Assist consumers to access government and industry support in paying their bills and prevent disconnection
- Support the establishment of consumer protections for new energy services, to drive energy efficiency and savings for all
They’re all the same, so why bother? – Consumers need to be able to engage in a competitive energy market to get the best value and keep prices as low as possible. However competition in Australia’s most deregulated and competitive state, Victoria, isn’t working – retailer margins are higher here than anywhere else. If the market worked, the opposite would be true. We’re campaigning for fair contracts and a basic level of standardisation to help consumers make sense of the energy market and engage with confidence.
It’s expensive – Energy is an essential service, and it’s critical that it is accessible and affordable for all consumers. Disconnections in Victoria are at an all-time high – that’s just not acceptable for an essential service. We want to know why, what it’s costing affected families and the taxpayer, and what industry and government need to do to turn this around. We also want retailers to provide world leading support to struggling customers through realistic payment plans, support to find the most affordable deals for their needs, and easy access to hardship programs to avoid escalating energy debt.
It’s complicated – The role of consumers in energy markets is changing. No longer passive recipients of electricity, many consumers are now generating their own. New and innovative services harnessing ‘smart’ technologies should mean consumers play an even more active role in driving efficiency savings. But with innovation comes complexity and consumers will need protection when things go wrong. We need a fit for purpose energy market regulatory framework with strong consumer protections built in from the beginning so the regulators don’t have to play catch up. Consumers can then engage with the energy market confident that their rights and interests haven’t been left behind in the race to innovate.