Posted on 19. Dec, 2013 in News

The Napthine Government and Minister for Energy, Nick Kotsiras, continue to be silent on increasing cost pressures facing Victorians, Shadow Minister for Energy, Lily D’Ambrosio said today.

Ms D’Ambrosio said the Essential Services Commission in their report delivered yesterday, continued to call for retailers to better support consumers facing financial hardship, but no action had been undertaken by the Napthine Government.

“Instead of addressing the financial hardship of consumers, the Napthine Government has cut the numbers of financial counsellors, who play an important role in helping Victorians to keep ahead of their rising energy bills,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

“According to the ESC report at least one out of every 100 Victorian consumers are struggling to pay higher energy bills and are being disconnected from their energy supply.

“How many more people need to be disconnected before this government takes some action?

“It is very bad but not unexpected news that ordinary Victorians are finding it harder and harder to pay their electricity and gas bills.

“The Napthine Government is doing nothing for the increasing numbers of families being disconnected from their energy supply by energy retailers,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

According to the ESC report complaints reported by electricity retailers rose to 5.5 per 100 consumers, up 20 per cent from 4.6 per 100 consumers in 2011-2012.

Complaints reported by gas retailers rose to 2.4 per 100 consumers, up 60 per cent from 1.5 per 100 consumers in 2011-2012. The majority (61 per cent) of these complaints regarded billing issues.

In its performance report on customer service the ESC noted that the rate of Victorians disconnected from their energy supply has increased by 150 per cent.

Ms D’Ambrosio said that these were concerning statistics and painted the picture of a government that was failing to read the warning signs.

“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 and Minister for Energy Nick Kotsiras’ inaction is a slap in the face to ordinary Victorians struggling with increasing cost pressures.”

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