The Victorian Government is implementing new ‘best offer’ information on energy bills
New rules have been introduced in Victoria to make sure that you are receiving the best energy plan offered by your energy provider. Energy providers must tell you on your bill, at least once every 3 months for electricity bills and once every four months for gas bills, whether you are on their best offer. This is to ensure all Victorians are aware and have access to a fairer and more affordable energy plan.
Save money on your energy bills by looking out for the 'best offer' information on your bill or simply call your retailer.
New standardised energy fact sheets to help compare energy costs
The new rules also mean that your energy provider must provide energy fact sheets for their energy plans. The fact sheets present information in the same way so you can easily compare plans. You can get a fact sheet through your energy provider’s website or by asking them to email or mail you one.
Each fact sheet includes an estimate of how much the plan costs for a small, medium and large household, terms and conditions, discounts and vouchers and other details specific to the plan.
To view sample fact sheets and find out more about how you can benefit from these changes, visit the Essential Services Commission’s website.
Fact sheet information
What do the new energy rules mean?
New energy rules introduced on 1 July means your energy provider must:
- give you at least five days' warning on any energy price or benefit changes that affect you, and include a message on their best offer for you
- show GST inclusive prices on all their energy plans, to make it easier to compare offers between retailers
- provide helpful information about energy plans (on things like terms and conditions) before you sign up for a new plan
- tell you if you're on their best energy plan for your circumstances
- tell you how much you could save by switching to the best energy plan they offer. You'll see 'best offer' information on your bill, at least once every 3 months for electricity bills and once every four months for gas bills, so you're always up to date on whether you're on the best plan for your situation.
When you get an estimated gas bill, energy providers now allow you to take a picture of your gas meter and send it back to your energy provider, so you can get a more accurate bill.
What is included in the new energy fact sheet and how will it look?
This part shows you an estimate of the average yearly cost of gas or electricity on the offer you're looking at. This section shows costs for a range of typical household sizes (1 person, 2 to 3 people, and 4 or more people).
This cost section also shows you how discount conditions (if there are any) affect the plan. For each household size, the number in larger font size is the average yearly cost, as long as you meet any discount conditions in the plan. The number in smaller font size underneath is the average yearly cost if you don't meet the plan's discount conditions.
This section shows you key details about the offer, including the name of the distributor that this offer applies to, whether this is a market offer or standing offer, and when the offer was made available to customers.
Discounts and incentives
This section lists all discounts and incentives that are available with the offer. This might also include things like discounts for paying on time, or vouchers that you can accept when you sign up.
This section covers the key details that would apply to this contract, including whether:
- it has a fixed end date and/or benefit period
- you need to qualify for eligibility criteria in order to sign up for the offer
- prices are fixed under this contract.
There are also details of where to find full terms and conditions for the offer.
This section lists details of key fees that apply to this offer, for example any move-in fees or fees to leave the contract.
This section describes how often you would be billed, and what payment methods are available.
Offer rate and details
This section lists the offer rate including the daily supply charge rate and any consumption unit prices that apply to the offer. There are also details of solar feed-in tariff options and Greenpower options (if those things apply to the offer you're looking at).
The Victorian Default Offer makes electricity bills fair
We’re making energy prices fairer for Victorian households and businesses.
From 1 July 2019, if you are on a simple standing offer for your electricity, you will be rolled over to a better, fairer plan. It’s called the Victorian Default Offer, or the VDO.
It could save you hundreds of dollars.
A typical household could save up to $450 per year, when compared with the median standing offer in your area. A typical small business could save up to $2,050 each year.
The Victorian Default Offer is being introduced after an independent review into energy prices found that Victorians were paying more than they should for electricity. The VDO is part of the government’s Energy Fairness Plan to make the electricity market simpler and more affordable for all consumers.
From 1 July, your energy provider must automatically move customers on existing simple standing offers to the VDO. If you think you haven’t been moved, you can call your energy provider or check your next electricity bill.
If you don’t know which deal you’re on, your provider may have automatically put you on a costly flat tariff standing offer for electricity. These standing offers are set by the energy provider and are usually much higher than the energy provider’s initial cheaper deal.
If you’re not on a simple standing offer, you can still opt in by calling your energy provider after 1 July 2019 and asking to be put on the Victorian Default Offer.
The VDO is a fair offer but not necessarily the cheapest offer available to you. If you opt in to the Victorian Default Offer, you will be able to leave at any time and access other offers in the market.
From 1 July, your energy provider must tell you on your bill, at least once every 3 months for electricity bills and once every four months for gas bills, whether you are on their best offer. This means you can compare which offer is best and fairest for you.
You can also call your energy provider to ask for their best deal.
If you’re not sure, visit Victorian Energy Compare. It provides free, independent advice by comparing what is the best available offer for you – no tricks, no gimmicks.
The VDO is available to all Victorian households and small business customers from 1 July 2019. However, if you live in an apartment block, retirement home, caravan park, or you’re a small business tenant in a shopping centre, you may be receiving your electricity through an embedded network. Embedded networks can’t access the Victorian Default Offer at this stage. The Essential Services Commission will review the price cap for customers in embedded networks as soon as possible.
You can check whether electricity at your address is supplied by an embedded network at the Essential services commission register
The government has committed to ban embedded networks in new-build residential apartment blocks, which too often lock in high costs for consumers. Exemptions will be allowed for buildings that use renewable energy micro grids to deliver low-cost renewable energy to apartment blocks.
The Victorian Default Offer is a fair price for energy – but not necessary the best price. If you are a Victorian household or small business customer, you can compare the tariffs on your electricity bill to those in the tables here to help you decide whether the Victorian Default Offer may be better than your current deal.
More tips to help you understand the VDO:
- Tips for Victorian households (PDF, 105.9 KB)
- Tips for Victorian households (DOCX, 179.0 KB)
- Extended FAQ's for Victorian households (DOCX, 165.9 KB)
- Tips for Small businesses (PDF, 108.2 KB)
- Tips for Small businesses (DOCX, 165.2 KB)
- Extended FAQ's for Small businesses (DOCX, 165.8 KB)
- Tips for Customers in embedded networks (PDF, 596.6 KB)
- Tips for Customers in embedded networks (DOCX, 163.6 KB)
If you would like further information on the Victorian Default Offer contact the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning on 136 186 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Page last updated: 25/09/19