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19 February 2024: Victorian Energy Upgrades – second round of consultation on banning telemarketing under the VEU program

On 22 June 2023, the Minister for Energy and Resources Lily D’Ambrosio announced her intention to implement a ban on telemarketing and other high-risk forms of unsolicited marketing under the Victorian Energy Upgrades (VEU) program. The ban is necessary to protect consumers from high-pressure sales tactics and other inappropriate marketing.

Under the ban, accredited providers will no longer be allowed to use cold-calling and other high-risk forms of unsolicited marketing to spruik products and services included in the program.

The Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action undertook the first round of consultation with stakeholders from 7 to 24 July on the design, timing and scope of the ban. The department would like to thank the more than 270 organisations and individuals who engaged in the initial consultation.

Following consultation feedback and other analysis, the department has prepared a regulatory impact statement (RIS) and proposed regulations outlining the preferred design for the ban, and alternative options.

All options:

  • ban 'cold-call' telemarketing under the VEU program to all types of consumers and for all types of energy upgrades as soon as is feasible, by 1 May 2024 (subject to regulatory approvals)
  • only permit a marketing or sales call at the request of the consumer or with their express permission, and only within three months or a timeline specified when the consumer opts in to calls
  • continue to permit calls to current customers of VEU suppliers (for example, to arrange the installation of a VEU energy upgrade)
  • permit calls to notify a previous customer of a product default or recall that affects them
  • prohibit calls to prospective or previous customers from being outsourced to contractors or marketing companies
  • continue to permit other forms of marketing, including digital advertising, traditional media advertising and direct marketing
  • ensure the ESC as regulator of the VEU program can take action against non-compliant providers and utilise a wide range of its existing enforcement tools.

The 3 policy options set out in the RIS

  • Option A bans 'cold-call' telemarketing under the VEU program to all types of consumes and for all types of energy upgrades as soon as is feasible, by 1 May 2024. Under Option A, doorknocking is still allowed.
  • Option B is a combined telemarketing and doorknocking ban, which prohibits telemarketing as per Option A, and also bans doorknocking at the same time, from 1 May 2024.
  • Option C is a phased telemarketing and doorknocking ban, which is the same as Option B except for the timing of the bans. Under Option C, telemarketing would be banned from 1 May 2024 and doorknocking would be banned from 1 August 2024.

The options were assessed on:

  • consumer experience and program reputation
  • costs to consumers
  • impacts on the VEU industry
  • costs to government.

The department is seeking feedback from stakeholders to inform the design of the ban and to choose the policy option that will be used to implement a telemarketing and potentially doorknocking ban under the VEU program. This will ensure that consumers are protected as quickly and effectively as possible, while supporting industry to transition to other methods to market energy efficient products and services.

Interested parties and stakeholders are invited to make submissions with feedback on the RIS and draft regulations by 11:59 pm on Monday 18 March 2024.

The department will host an online webinar on Monday 26 February 2024 at 10 am. Register for the webinar.

For more information and to make a submission, please see our Engage Victoria consultation page.

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Page last updated: 19/02/24