Media Release 21 February 2019

Default energy offer could cut bills for 46,000 Victorian small businesses

The Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry today welcomed a new legislation to establish a default energy offer that could reduce the cost of energy for small businesses across the state.

The Energy Legislation Amendment (Victorian Default Offer) Bill 2019, introduced to Parliament this week, will set a fair price for energy and will reform retail energy contracts to ensure that they are clear and easier to understand.

Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chief Executive Mark Stone AM said the Victorian Chamber has been working with governments to address rising energy bills and this reform could make it easier for business to compare energy offers and to ensure that they are paying a fair price for gas and electricity.

“This new legislation will directly benefit around 46,000 small business customers that remain on costly standing offers. Almost 300,000 small businesses could benefit from new information that will make comparing energy offers and discounts straightforward.”

According to the Essential Services Commission, around 17 per cent of small business electricity customers are on standing offers compared to around 9 per cent of residential electricity consumers.

“Following passage of the legislation, customers on standing offers would automatically be transferred to cheaper default offers from 1 July 2019, and other customers would be able to switch onto the Victorian default if it represents a better deal for them.”

Mr Stone also welcomed Victorian Coalition energy spokesman Ryan Smith’s openness to support this approach to lowering energy bills, noting that bipartisanship on energy policy helped provide investment certainty.

“These reforms represent a positive step in tackling high energy costs for Victorian small businesses by addressing problems in the retail energy market. However, all businesses will continue to face high energy costs due to the lack of a nationally agreed energy and climate policy, the high cost of energy networks and high wholesale energy costs.

“More action is needed to help Victorian businesses manage their energy costs and improve efficiency. We also need to work towards a national and integrated national energy and climate policy that brings on investment in new energy supplies to lower prices,” said Mr Stone.

Media Contact

All media enquiries may be directed to the Media and Communications Manager

03 8662 5310

0423 883 945

media@victorianchamber.com.au

For all other enquiries please contact the Victorian Chamber on 03 8662 5333

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