Latest news from the Essential Services Commission
Essential News: February 2019
Welcome to Essential News, our regular update on key decisions, releases and events from the Essential Services Commission.

Making it easier for customers to understand their energy rights

Victorians experiencing payment difficulties now have a better access to support when dealing with energy companies. New rules came into effect on 1 January 2019 establishing minimum standards for customer assistance, including flexible payment options and requiring energy retailers to work with customers who have missed a bill.

Find out more about the new rules →
A woman sitting at a table looking over bills

Two councils consider higher rates cap

Mansfield and Warrnambool councils are considering applying for a rate increase above the 2.5 per cent cap set by the Minister for Local Government. We recently toured the state meeting with councils to discuss the 2019-20 rate cap process, and seek input on an upcoming report looking at councils’ service, infrastructure and financial outcomes since the introduction of rate capping. 

Find out more about council rate caps → 

Energy retail market review implementation update

We're continuing our work implementing recommendations from the  independent bipartisan review of electricity and gas retail markets. In particular, in the coming months we expect to announce:

Find out more about our retail market review implementation work →


Price reviews underway for three rural water businesses

Over 100,000 regional water customers will see closer monitoring of their water businesses over the next two years as new pricing decisions are developed. The process will encourage better performance and development of water services in rural areas. We recently released guidance papers outlining how we will regular the prices to be charged by Western Water, South Gippsland Water and Goulburn Murray Water from 1 July 2020.

Read more about our water price reviews →


Commissioners to step down

Essential Services Commission chair Ron Ben-David has confirmed he will finish up as head of the commission at the end of his second term in May this year. Commissioner Richard Clarke has also announced his decision to depart at the end of his current term.

Read our media release →

Essential Services Commission chair, Dr Ron Ben-David

More timely energy enforcement action

We're reviewing our compliance and enforcement policy with the aim of speeding up how long it takes to call energy companies to account when they breach the Energy Retail Code. The code covers things like customer contracts, billing disputes, payment difficulties and the contents of bills.

Read more about the review →


Recommended increase for storage fees, but not towing 

Following our 2018 review of accident towing and storage fees, we recommended increasing storage fees for cars and motorcycles, but keeping accident towing fees the same.

Find out more about our recommendation →


Safety first for Victorian Energy Upgrades CFL replacements

We've introduced new rules for replacing compact fluorescent lamps with energy efficient LED lamps under the Victorian Energy Upgrade program to ensure installer and consumer safetyLicensed electricians are now required to be involved at every stage of the installation, in order for it to be eligible udner the program.

Read more about the new rules →


Domestic building insurance premiums falling

Our latest domestic building insurance scheme performance report shows average premiums are falling for insurance designed to cover homeowners for defects if their builder dies, disappears or goes out of business.

Find out more about the report →