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Demystifying the energy industry reforms

Byline author: Graham Cooke

If you’ve noticed that the charge on your energy bill is a little different this month, you’re probably right.

On 1 July, a new set of reforms affecting energy retailers came into effect across New South Wales, South Australia, South East Queensland and Victoria.

What changes have been introduced?

Default Market Offer (DMO)

The DMO affects energy customers in New South Wales, South East Queensland and South Australia. It has been introduced to prevent customers from paying more than necessary for their energy usage.

All retailers must have an offer that is no higher than the DMO price. This offer is called the standing offer or ‘standard retail contract’. Sumo references its other offers against the DMO price. The DMO is determined by the Australian Energy Regulator.

Victorian Default Offer (VDO)

Victorian residents now have the Victorian Default Offer (VDO). This works in a similar way to the DMO by determining the maximum price energy customers can be charged on standing offer electricity plans.

From 1 January 2020, the VDO will be set by the Essential Services Commission.

New rules in Victoria

In addition to the VDO, energy providers in Victoria now have to comply with a new set of rules which make it easier for customers to find the most suitable deal. Some of these rules include:

Providers must give customers at least five days’ notice if any price changes are being introduced that might affect them.

  • Prices must be displayed inclusive of GST across all energy plans to help customers differentiate between offers.
  • “Best offer” information will need to be provided on bills for gas (every 4 months) and electricity (every 3 months). This is so customers are kept up to date with the most competitive deals.
  • Providers will also need to give “clear advice” to customers about any offers being presented to them.

How this might affect you

Overall, energy customers will be better off as a result of the new regulations with retailers providing clearer information and fairer prices.

The new reforms are set to pave the way for a fairer market for everyone, creating a better deal overall for energy customers.

Graham Cooke is energy expert at Finder