Victorians are facing unprecedented increases in their electricity bills. The Victorian Essential Services Commission has released is Victorian Default Offer 2023-24 Draft Decision, which confirms shock electricity bill increases of 31.1 per cent for households and 33.2 per cent for small businesses.
For an average Victorian household, this represents a $426 annual increase and for an average small business, this increase represents a $1,738 annual increase.
Establishing the Victorian Default Offer in 2019, Premier Daniel Andrews had said: “Hard working Victorians are sick of being ripped off by energy retailers, so we’re getting rid of these unfair deals.”
It is not surprising the Opposition Leader, John Pesutto, says the Government had clearly failed all Victorians and had no energy plan, in an apparent attempt to negate the Andrews government’s SEC 2.0 (reviving the SEC) election announcement last year.
“This shows the Government has no plan to reduce power prices, no plan to transition to renewables and no plan to guarantee Victoria’s future energy supply,” John Pesutto said in a statement.
“Victorians should be able to cook dinner for the family, heat and cool their homes and keep the lights on without wondering if they can afford to do so.
“The Andrews Labor Government has failed to deliver a plan for our energy market and Victorian families and businesses are the ones paying the cost.”
The Andrews Labor Government promised to bring back the SEC (SEC 2.0) to produce 30% of Victoria’s electricity – wholly renewable creating 59,000 Victorian jobs at a total cost of $ 1 billion over the next 10 years, without saying when and by how much the electricity bills in Victoria would come down.
Three months in, the work on the plan has already begun, with some of the big names appointed to be the government torchbearers. It has already allocated $20 million and is seeking Commonwealth funding to support its SEC energy plan.
The Opposition, it is their job, is asking the Andrews government more details and among other things – time frame as to when power prices will actually begin to fall for Victorians.
Shadow Minister for Energy, David Hodgett, said that we keep hearing from the Government about its plans to bring back the SEC but where is the money coming from? Who is going to fund it? Will there be a structured tender process?
“It’s time for the Government to explain to Victorians how it will work and how it will reduce their energy prices and guarantee Victoria’s future energy supplies.”
With a dedicated minister in Premier Andrews’ cabinet for the SEC’ revival and planning well underway, just three months into the term, the government, in ordinary circumstances could hardly be seen to be moving at a snail’s pace.
These are no ordinary times. Experts are talking of a potential world recession. The RBA has increased interest rates to a record high in a decade, adding to cost of living pressures like never before. Measures necessitated by COVID-19 in the last two years have added to the government debt to unprecedented levels.
A small increase to electricity bills can mean a substantial pressure on households.
Although some experts potentially attribute Victoria’s electricity bills woes to the very vigorous privatization spree of the 1990s by the current opposition’s predecessors, a very belligerent John Pesutto is leaving no stone unturned to keep the pressure on the government.
“The Premier promised to reduce prices yet has done exactly the opposite. And all Victorians, including families and small businesses, will be poorer off at a time when they can least afford it,” John Pesutto stated in a statement released.