Latest news from the Essential Services Commission
Essential News: March 2020
Welcome to Essential News, our regular update on key decisions, releases and events from the Essential Services Commission.

Message from our chair, Kate Symons

The coronavirus pandemic is challenging our community in new ways. As providers of essential services, the businesses we regulate are critical for ensuring the Victorian community can continue to function during and after this pandemic.

We are working with these businesses for the benefit of the wider community.

Read the full message →

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High-volume Victorian Energy Upgrades activities suspended

In light of social distancing directives by the Victorian Government, incentives offered as part of the Victorian Energy Upgrades program have been suspended for activities that involve installers visiting multiple homes per day and carrying out multiple activities within the home.

Find out more on the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning website →


Taxi non-cash surcharge limit set, fare review begins

We have released the final decision for our taxi non-cash payment surcharge review, setting the maximum surcharge limit for most non-cash payment methods at four per cent, down from the current five per cent.

The only exception is commercial passenger vehicle specific payment instruments which will have a six per cent maximum. 

We are now commencing our unbooked taxi fare review, with a consultation paper out for consultation.


New rules to modernise Victoria's energy grid

Victoria’s electricity distribution code has been updated to meet the future needs of the state’s energy grid and support customers with technologies such as solar power.

We published our final decision on the code's technical standards, which include updates to voltage standards and new distributor reporting requirements.

Find out more about the changes →


Interim report on Port of Melbourne released

We have released an interim report on the Port of Melbourne’s approach to setting land rents and providing access to port land.

The report takes a detailed look at the port's contractual arrangements and the extent to which the land rents paid are passed through to Victorian consumers.

Find out more about our interim report →

Safety net for Victorians suffering energy bill stress

Help is available for Victorians experiencing energy bill stress as a result of summer bushfires and the coronavirus outbreak.

We have launched a campaign informing customers across the state about the support energy retailers must offer and providing a safety net for Victorians facing payment difficulties. 

Read our media release →

Couple looking stressed looking at a bill

Putting an end to 'bait and switch' energy deals

Energy companies will no longer be able to ‘bait and switch’ customers by offering very low prices, only to increase them within months following changes we introduced last month to make energy contracts fairer.

Find out more about the changes →

Goulburn-Murray Water's prices set to fall from July

Our draft decision on Goulburn-Murray Water's prices (applied from 1 July) would see them fall by around 10 per cent on average. Customers can have their say on the draft decision until 24 April.

Find out more and have your say at Engage Victoria →


Western Water asked to resubmit price submission

We have rejected key aspects of Western Water's pricing proposals (set to apply from 1 July), and asked the business to resubmit it's proposed prices. Customers can have their say on our draft decision until 24 April. 

Find out more and have your say at Engage Victoria →

Alinta penalised for second time in two years

Alinta Energy has paid penalties totalling $280,000 for again allegedly using door-to-door sales agents to switch Victorians to new energy contracts without their consent.

Read our media release →


Disconnections down as reforms take effect

Our latest quarterly energy market snapshot shows signs recent reforms are taking effect, with a fall in disconnections and fewer discounts with conditions. The Victorian energy market update also shows prices remained stable between 30 June 2019 and 31 January 2020.

Read the latest Victorian Energy market update →