Solar energy rebate a win for households – now for fair energy tariffs

Consumer Action Law Centre has welcomed a new Victorian government solar energy rebate program for 650,000 households, saying that solar energy on homes can help people save on power costs.

“A rebate on installing solar panels will help many people cut their power bills”, said Gerard Brody, CEO of Consumer Action.

The Centre also urged the State Government to adopt recommendations from the Independent Review of Retail Electricity and Gas Markets in Victoria to implement a basic service offer to make energy prices fair.

A basic service offer would be set by the regulator and replace “standing offers” which are set by retailers. The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission made a similar recommendation in its recent report on electricity, recommending that standing offers be abolished and replaced by a default market offer set by the regulator.

Following reports that both the Federal Coalition and ALP are supporting reform of default offers, the Centre said that any basic or default offer should be set at a level stripped of unnecessary retail costs and hefty profit margins.

“This would guarantee access to a fair price for energy, for all households and small businesses”, said Mr Brody. “These savings would benefit those being gouged the highest, especially those on low incomes”.

Mr Brody said that retailers could still compete around the default tariff, and that discounts would be clearer and fairer because there will be a standard rate from which the discount applies.

“At the same time, people who don’t have the time or ability to consider all their options could choose the offer and know that they aren’t being gouged for an essential service”.

Read more about Consumer Action’s policy priorities on energy: https://consumeraction.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Energy-Platform-FINAL.pdf.

MEDIA CONTACT: Jonathan Brown, media@consumeraction.org.au, 0413 299 567

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