Victorians offered cash to seek better energy deals

All Victorian households will receive a $50 “bill busting bonus” if they seek out a better electricity deal.

The Victorian Government has announced a $48 million investment in the Power Saving Bonus in its 2018/19 state budget.

“We know there are better deals out there for Victorian families – this is about getting them on the website to find them,” Premier Daniel Andrews said.

“Big power companies rely on people not having the time, information or knowledge to get a better deal. That changes now.”

To get the money, households will have to use the independent Energy Compare website between July 1 and December 31.

Households are not required to take up an offer or switch plans, they simply have to visit the website.

Energy minister Lily D’Ambrosio said the government’s reforms are creating a more modern, reliable energy system.

“We know that Victorians are paying too much for their energy bills – that’s why we’re stepping in to help families get the best deal,” she said.

Victorians are already saving money on their bills through changes introduced by the Labor Government in response to the independent, bipartisan review into Victoria’s electricity and gas retail markets.

As a result of the report, the state’s three largest energy retailers are providing rebates between $250 and $720 to more than 285,000 Victorian customers on costly standing and expired market offers.

The Budget also provides $21.7 million to increase the Utility Relief Grant cap from $500 to $650 – helping households and families suffering unexpected hardship, like losing a job, pay their water, gas or electricity bills.

Work is already underway on a number of the report’s recommendations, including protections for low income and vulnerable customers, and a new brokerage service.

Australian Energy Council general manager Sarah McNamara said active consumers could save hundreds of dollars by shopping around.

“Victoria has a very competitive electricity market with more than 20 retailers offering deals,” Ms McNamara said.

“Like any consumer marketplace, there are really substantial savings available for people prepared to shop around.

“Websites like Energy Compare help consumers decide which offers suit them best, based on their current circumstances and likely electricity use.”

Ms McNamara said electricity retailers were also continuing to work with the Victorian Government on measures that make it easier for consumers to engage with the retail market and find great deals.