The Victorian Default Offer
We’re making energy prices fairer for Victorian households and businesses.
Since 1 July 2019, if you were on a flat tariff standing offer for your electricity, you would have been automatically rolled over to a better, fairer plan. It’s called the Victorian Default Offer, or the VDO.
If you were on a non-flat standing offer, since 1 January 2020, your energy retailer would have automatically moved you to the Victorian Default Offer.
Frequently asked questions
How much can I save?
Victoria’s independent energy regulator, the Essential Services Commission, has calculated that the Victorian Default Offer would save the typical Victorian household on a standing offer between $200 to $330 on their average annual bills. In comparison, the savings for a small business would be between $1,000 to $1,600 lower than before 1 July 2019.
What are the Victorian Default Offer prices?
The Victorian Default Offer prices for a Victorian household or small business customer by distribution zone are available on the Essential Services Commission website.
The Victorian Default Offer tariff is different across distribution zones – reflecting the unique costs of providing electricity services in each area.
Why have we introduced the Victorian Default Offer?
The Victorian Default Offer was introduced after an independent review into energy prices found that Victorians were paying more than they should for electricity. The Victorian Default Offer is part of the government’s Energy Fairness Plan to make the electricity market simpler and more affordable for all consumers.
Under the Victorian Default Offer, the price of electricity is set by Victoria’s independent energy regulator, the Essential Services Commission, annually.
The government has asked the Essential Services Commission to implement several of the reforms. Further information about these reforms is available on the Essential Services Commission website.
How do I know if I am on the Victorian Default Offer?
You can check your electricity bill. If you are unsure, you can call your energy retailer to ask. You can find some quick tips on reading your energy bills via Energy Info Hub.
If you were on a simple standing offer your energy provider would have automatically moved you to the Victorian Default Offer from 1 July 2019.
Since 1 January 2020, the Victorian Default Offer extends to all standing offers, including non-flat tariffs that are either time-of-use, demand, or flexible tariff structures. If you were on a non-flat standing offer, your energy retailer would have automatically moved you to the Victorian Default Offer from 1 January 2020.
If you are not on an electricity Victorian Default Offer, you are most likely on a market offer. Market offers are competitive offers set by energy retailers, may include a discount (or some other benefit), and can vary in length or be ongoing.
I am not on the Victorian Default Offer. How can I save?
The Victorian Default Offer 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.
Your energy retailer must tell you on your bill, at least once every 3 months for electricity bills and once every 4 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 retailer to ask for their best deal.
Further tips on finding a better deal are available via Energy Info Hub.
It provides free, independent advice by comparing the best available offer for you – no tricks, no gimmicks.
Do I qualify for the Victorian Default Offer?
The Victorian Default Offer is available to all Victorian households and small business customers. A small business customer is a customer that consumes no more than 40-megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity in a year for business use.
Suppose you live in an apartment block, retirement home, caravan park, or you’re a small business tenant in a shopping centre. In that case, you may be receiving your electricity through an embedded network. From 1 September 2020, energy providers in embedded networks can’t charge households or small business customers any more than Victorian Default Offer prices.
You can check whether electricity at your address is supplied by an embedded network at the Essential Services Commission’s register.
The government has committed to banning 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 microgrids to deliver low-cost renewable energy to apartment blocks.
Is the Victorian Default Offer better than my current deal?
The Victorian Default Offer is a fair price for energy – but not necessarily the best price. Suppose you are a Victorian household or small business customer. In that case, you can compare the tariffs on your electricity bill to the current Victorian Default Offer prices to help you decide whether the Victorian Default Offer may be better than your current deal.
Suppose you are on an offer with a non-flat tariff structure, such as a time-of-use, demand or flexible tariff structure. In that case, you can compare your annual bill to the Victorian Default Offer compliant maximum annual bill amount determined by the Essential Services Commission using the methodology on the commission's website.
If you’re not sure, visit Victorian Energy Compare. It provides free, independent advice by comparing what the best available offer for you is.
Further tips on finding a better deal are available via Energy Info Hub.
Does the Victorian Default Offer affect feed-in-tariffs for solar customers?
The Victorian Default Offer is available to solar customers and does not affect feed-in-tariffs.
Have there been any changes to discounts?
Energy retailers can offer discounts to consumers but are now required to link any offered value to the Victorian Default Offer price, known as the reference price. This is because previously, it was not clear what part of the electricity bill the discount was from, making it difficult for consumers to compare offers.
Do my energy concessions apply if I am on the Victorian Default Offer?
The government offers a range of energy concessions and benefits to provide relief to consumers. If you are eligible, these concessions will give you a discount on price you pay, regardless if you are on a market offer or the Victorian Default Offer. Fact sheets are available via Energy Info Hub.
What can I do if I am having trouble managing my bills?
If you have difficulty paying your bills, there are rules and options available to ensure you receive support from your energy provider under Victoria’s Payment Difficulty Framework.
These rules require your energy provider to help you face payment difficulty, including tailored assistance specific to your circumstances to help you manage your bills.
Contact your energy provider by phone or email as soon as possible and ask to speak to their Hardship Team. Further information and factsheets are available via Energy Info Hub.
The Essential Services Commission also provides useful resources for understanding your energy consumer rights and assistance if you miss a bill. Information on your rights and accessing support for paying your bill is available on the Essential Services Commission website.
The Victorian Government offers a range of energy concessions and benefits to provide relief to consumers. If you are eligible, these concessions will give you a discount on the price you pay, regardless if you are on a market offer or the Victorian Default Offer.
Who can I talk to if I am not happy with my energy provider?
If you have a complaint you cannot resolve with your energy provider, you can contact the Energy and Water Ombudsman (Victoria) or call on 1800 500 509.
Need more information?
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.
The Victorian Government has implemented ‘best offer’ information on energy bills
Rules have been introduced in Victoria to ensure you receive the best energy plan offered by your energy retailer. Energy retailers must tell you on your bill, at least once every 3 months for electricity bills and once every 4 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.
Standardised energy fact sheets to help compare energy costs
Your energy retailer 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 retailer’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 a 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
Your energy retailer 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 4 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 retailers now allow you to take a picture of your gas meter and send it back to your energy retailer, so you can get a more accurate bill.
What is included in the energy fact sheet and how does 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).
Page last updated: 09/04/21