AGL recently responded to the Essential Services Commission’s (ESC) Issues Paper on contracts and discounting. This Issues Paper offers options derived by the ESC to implementation recommendations 4A-4E and 3A of the Independent Review of Electricity and Gas Retail Markets Victoria (Thwaites review).
The Thwaites review occurred in 2016 and made 11 recommendations with several sub-recommendations on areas of focus that may improve the Victorian energy market for consumers. Several of these recommendations have been referred to the ESC by the Victorian government for implementing in the retail market – many of the final changes going live on 1 July 2019. These include:
- Victorian Default Offer
- Clear Advice Entitlement
- Advanced notice of changes that impact a customer’s bill
- Best offer notification
- GST inclusive
- New fact sheet obligations
These changes represent unprecedented regulatory change in the Victorian market, and have had major impacts on how retailers and consumers engage. Given this extreme change, the market is no longer in the place that it was at the time of the 2016 Thwaites review. Many of the ESC’s changes listed above are also broad-brush responses that address more than the original recommendation intended (such as the Clear Advice Entitlement which was implemented as part of this process but not a Thwaites recommendation).
AGL therefore strongly urges the ESC and the Victorian government to reflect on the impacts of the above changes, and assess the scope of benefits delivered to consumers, before attempting to introduce further change based on a 2016 review.
Our full submission is available here.