On 16 July Victoria’s Consumer Action released an Energy Assistance Report, which includes observations about the impact, to date, of the new Victorian Payment Difficulty Framework. The report also discusses other general findings from underlying energy analysis work. It is the first report of this kind from the Victorian group and tracks the energy issues Victorian consumers raised when calling the National Debt Helpline service over 23 months.

Consumer Action is also releasing a spreadsheet with some of the underlying deidentified information that was analysed.

Key findings of the report include:

  • energy disconnections have significantly reduced following the implementation of the Victorian Governments Payment Difficulty Framework from 1 January 2019

  • energy companies are still failing to comply with aspects of the Payment Difficulty Framework

  • while vital early intervention is increasingly encouraged, many people having difficulty paying their energy bills are still contacting help services after overwhelming energy debts have arisen

  • there is a strong relationship between receiving a Centrelink income and raising issues with energy debt

  • women, people speaking a language other than English at home; people experiencing mental health issues or people experiencing family violence are more likely to raise energy issues when they call.

The report and accompanying spreadsheet are digital only and can be downloaded via this link: https://consumeraction.org.au/energy-assistance-report/

Please contact Jake Lilley at jake@consumeraction.org.au or on 03 9670 5088 if you would like to discuss this work.

AuthorRay Dennis