Labor To Abolish Utility Exit Fees

Premier Baillieu was elected on the promise that his government would reduce the cost of living for Victorian families, but after nearly two years in government he has yet to deliver on this commitment.

With the cost of living rising, Victorian households are looking to the Baillieu Government to ease these pressures.

Victorian Labor will abolish all fixed term market contracts except those that offer genuine fixed prices and conditions for the duration of the contract period. Labor’s policy will also abolish exit fees for all energy contracts, except for genuine fixed term market contracts where an exit fee as per the Victorian Energy Retail Code is justifiable.

Not all market contracts are fixed term. However, almost all fixed term contracts contain variable pricing. These fixed term market contracts can be confusing for consumers who may enter a contract reasonably believing the contract also locks in a fixed price.

The Essential Services Commission reported on 20th September, 2012 that electricity prices in Victoria have risen by between 10 and 12% in the past year alone.

The NSW Government announced on 18th September, 2012 that they would seek to abolish exit fees, through negotiations over the National Consumer Energy Framework.

The SA Government announced on 19th September, 2012 that exit fees were a barrier to consumers shopping around for the best deal in a competitive market, and that they would consult with retailers and stakeholders on the practicality of abolishing exit fees or at least offering one exit fee-free contract.

The Queensland Government legislated in July 2012 to allow consumers to terminate contracts without incurring exit fees if the retailer is charging more than the regulated price.

The Baillieu Government has made no commitment on this issue so far.

Victorian Labor calls on the Baillieu Government to support its move for the abolition of exit fees for electricity and gas contracts.

If Ted Baillieu was serious about reducing the cost of living for Victorian families he would support Labor’s policy.