Posted on 02. Oct, 2013 in News

The Napthine Government must explain to Victorian energy consumers why it has failed to ensure the enforcement of Victoria’s energy retail laws, Shadow Minister for Consumer Affairs, Lily D’Ambrosio said today.

Ms D’Ambrosio said that in the most recent case of a serious breach of consumer protection laws, energy retailers had been exposed as having moved customers onto monthly billing cycles without consultation and without their explicit informed consent.

“Instances of this date back at least 12 months, yet in the face of the lengthy time over which this breach continues to occur, the Napthine Government has remained inactive,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

“This new revelation comes on the heels of recent data from the energy and water ombudsman showing that the number of consumer complaints against energy retailers has risen by 27 per cent in the last year, together with a sharp increase in the number of disconnections.

“Minister for Energy Nicholas Kotsiras claimed two weeks ago that unless he was aware of specific consumer concerns then ‘it is very difficult to consider options for improvement’ despite these problems staring him straight in the face.

“Minister Kotsiras is out of his depth and doesn’t understand the mounting problems consumers are facing under the Napthine Government.

“How many more Victorians need to have their rights trampled on before this government starts doing its job to uphold Victoria’s hard won energy retail consumer protections?,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

Victorians are facing higher cost of living pressures than ever with the Napthine Government increasing the price of the following in this year’s state budget:
• Drivers licence renewals and Vehicle registration;
• Public transport fares;
• Working with children applications;
• Fire Services Property Levy;
• Extended congestion levy;
• Increased childcare costs.

Ms D’Ambrosio said that the Napthine Government was elected in November 2010 on its commitment to ‘reduce the cost of living for Victorians’, yet had stood idly by while consumers were being exploited by energy retailers.

“Under this Government’s watch, customer complaints and disconnections have soared.

“The Napthine Government’s inaction is a slap in the face to ordinary Victorians struggling with increasing cost of living pressures.”

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