Our first forum for energy industry stakeholders on 27 August 2019 covered the retail market review, the Victorian Default Offer, the Electricity Distribution Code review and protections for life support customers.
Victorian energy open forum 2019
We held our first forum for energy industry stakeholders on 27 August 2019.
In this forum, we sought feedback on a number of Victorian energy reforms related to:
- the retail market review
- the Compliance and Performance Reporting Guideline and data reporting
- the Victorian Default Offer
- the Electricity Distribution Code review
- protections for life support customers.
Use this page to review summaries of each session and download related presentations and other useful resources.
A recap of the day
In this forum, we looked many areas of energy reform, including how to make energy contracts clear and fair, modernising the Electricity Distribution Code, data collection for monitoring compliance, and testing options for the Victorian Default Offer reset in January. We also presented updates on changes to the Energy Retail Code to better support customers experiencing family violence and the results of our 'It’s your energy' information campaign.
Despite the variety of topics, there was one common thread – they all addressed the shortcomings of the market which has, and continues to lead to poor outcomes for Victorian consumers.
It also marks a step forward in our ongoing efforts to improve and enhance our engagement with the sector, and the community, to ensure our decisions and our regulatory activity is firmly grounded in intelligence and experience from the real world.
Retail markets review
Our first session of the day focused on recommendation 4 from the independent review of the electricity and gas retail market - aimed at ensuring customers understand and have greater certainty about what they will pay on a given contract.
During the session we heard:
- there is a desire for a very clear definition of the problem being solved by this recommendation
- changes must not require customers to think more but should simplify and clarify.
New data indicators
Some key themes emerged from our session on proposed new data indicators, including:
- raw numbers alone are not enough to tell you a story – that we need data over time to see the movement or trend.
- data collection – when it’s not already collected by the business for other reasons – may ultimately cost customers, so we need to be mindful about the data we ask for.
Victorian Default Offer
We then turned our attention to the reset of the Victorian Default Offer.
We spent some time going over feedback on our recent issues paper and we talked over options for setting the maximum annual bill.
- The issues around setting a maximum bill are complex.
- There was strong interest in the commission releasing as much information as possible on wholesale cost estimation.
Straight after lunch, we had a presentation from family violence lead Lucy Weston on promoting the safety and wellbeing of Victorian consumers affected by family violence.
Lucy talked through the recent code changes and the release of a better practice guide designed to support energy businesses as they implement the code changes. View all family violence resources for businesses.
Electricity Distribution Code
The next session focused on a review of another of our key regulatory instruments – the Electricity Distribution Code.
This was a real working session with a focus on testing technical standards and customer protection provisions.
Life support provisions
And our final workshop of the day, where we looked at proposed changes to life support provisions including:
- alignment with the national electricity rules
- the difference between the current and proposed framework
- embedded networks.
Energy rights campaign
And for the final presentation of the day, the Senior Manager, Strategic Communication Michelle Bryne presented on the outcomes of the recent 'Its your energy' information campaign.
This work was something quite new for us the results speak for themselves - with a significant increase in consumer awareness about the fact they have energy rights, but showed us there is more work to be done to help the community understand those rights.