Cold calls banned
Door-to-door and cold-calling electricity and gas sales have been banned in Victoria.
These bans were legislated under the Energy Legislation Amendment (Energy Fairness) Act 2021 and build on door-to-door sales bans for solar businesses under the Solar Homes Program, which came into effect from 1 September.
The State Government says prohibiting unsolicited door-to-door sales and cold-calling by energy retailers will protect vulnerable consumers from harmful and high-pressure sales practices. The legislation also bans ‘win back’ and ‘save’ offers, which will incentivise retailers to provide their best offer upfront and reduce underlying energy costs for all Victorians.
In the announcement, the State Government said:
There are also new criminal penalties of $1 million for retailers who wrongfully disconnect customers knowingly or recklessly or disconnect households in a way that endangers customers on life support equipment.
The new laws deliver on the Labor Government’s Energy Fairness Plan, which was announced as a key election commitment November 2018.
Other reforms already introduced include the Victorian Default Offer (VDO), improved transparency on customer bills such as a ‘best offer requirement’, and a new Commissioner appointed to the Essential Services Commission, to focus on litigation and enforcement.
Victoria’s Energy Fairness Plan has made the energy market clearer and fairer for energy users. It has also contributed to a fall in power prices of over 10 percent this year with The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission identifying the VDO as the most significant factor in the reduction of retail margins.