Tens of thousands of Victorians living in apartments and retirement communities could save hundreds of dollars a year on electricity bills under a proposal from the State’s energy regulator.
The Essential Services Commission has proposed a maximum price for electricity sold to embedded network customers.
An embedded network describes a situation where a single electricity network - usually overseen by a developer or community operator - supplies power to all premises within a specific area or building, with customers unable to strike their own individual deals.
Essential Services Commission pricing director Marcus Crudden says residential embedded network customers could save between $180 to $370, under the Commission's proposal.
“Victorians living in embedded networks will be able to access a fairer deal under our proposed new maximum price," he said.
“Customers currently in these networks are not fully covered by the same price protections as other Victorians and this changes that."
The proposed maximum prices in the draft decision are based on estimates of the impact of the current Victorian default offer on standing offer prices prevailing in May 2019.
Under the plan, exempt sellers (sellers of electricity who are not required to hold a licence) would still be able to offer embedded network customers deals below the maximum.
There are around 104,000 residential, caravan park and retirement village customers and 18,000 small and large business customers in embedded networks across the state.
A draft decision circulated by the Commission said: "In recent years, there has been an increase in the number and scale of embedded networks."
"This reflects the mix of housing shifting towards higher density living, such as apartments and townhouses. While there are a number of more traditional embedded networks like caravan parks and retirement villages, more recently there has been a move towards business models that install and operate embedded networks, particularly in apartment complexes."
"In return for providing this infrastructure these businesses can sometimes commit the owner’s corporation to lengthy contracts and in effect become a monopoly provider of energy to customers in the complex."
Interested stakeholders are invited to make submissions on the draft decision online through Engage Victoria until 15 June 2020 with feedback being used to inform a final decision.
You can also register for a virtual public forum on 28 May 2020.