Many Victorian energy consumers find the market confusing and do not want to, or aren’t able to, actively engage. The Australian Consumer Competition Commission’s Bipartisan Independent Review of the Electricity and Gas Retail Markets in Victoria (2017) found that Victorian households are paying almost 200% more than they paid for electricity and gas before competition was introduced in 2002, and innovation has been largely limited to energy retailer marketing practices. It also found that retailer practices have resulted in poor outcomes for consumers and that discounting practices were confusing, opaque and made comparing offers difficult.
The Victorian Government acknowledges that confidence and trust in the market is impacted by complexity and the ever-changing nature of energy, and this is particularly true for the most vulnerable members of the community. The Energy Affordability Training Partnership supports these households to better understand, manage, and reduce their energy costs by providing ER workers with the training and resources to assist vulnerable households to reduce their energy costs, and plain English communication material through the Energy Info Hub. Research was used to understand the context in which ER workers and vulnerable consumers engage with energy, and this informed the creation of a suite of resources to assist workers and consumers to navigate the market, stay comfortable and save money.