Choosing a Retailer
From 1 January 2009, legislation came into effect making it easier for Victorian consumers to have clear and simple access to a range of energy retailers prices.
All Victorian energy customers are on a contract that determines how much you pay your retailer for electricity and gas. There are two types of contracts - a standing contract and a market contract. Standing contract tariffs are usually higher than market contract tariffs, so it pays to look around for a market contract that suits you.
Energy retailers publish details on a range of their offers on their websites.
The Essential Services Commission also publishes a range of energy retailers offers, monitors electricity and gas prices and reports on them publicly, so families and businesses can shop around and get the best deal on their gas and electricity plans. For more information, please visit www.yourchoice.vic.gov.au.
This website provides practical tips on how to work out which type of contract you are on and how to choose the best contract for you with retailers. It also includes a search engine which provides you with a list of retail tariffs available in your area.
Energy Retail Code
The Energy Retail Code sets out a range of protections for energy consumers.
Key features of the Code are that:
- You must be billed based on either an actual or estimated meter reading. Retailers must make "best endeavours" to read your meter at least once a year.
- You must receive an electricity bill at least every three months and a gas bill at least every two months.
- Your retailer must provide you with flexible payment options if you have a demonstrated incapacity to pay your bills.
- Retailers must gain your explicit informed consent when seeking to sign you up to a new energy contract or change a term in your existing contract, including an increase in price.
- You are entitled to a "cooling off" period when you sign a new energy contract, typically 10 days.