Regional Victorians are facing unprecedented energy price increases as a result of the mismanagement of the Andrews Labor Government.
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.
When announcing the establishment of the Victorian Default Offer in 2019, Premier Daniel Andrews said: “Hard working Victorians are sick of being ripped off by energy retailers, so we’re getting rid of these unfair deals.”
The Nationals Member for Euroa, Annabelle Cleeland, said the Government had failed on this metric and had no energy plan.
“The Premier promised to reduce prices yet has done exactly the opposite. Everyone across our region, including families and small businesses, will be poorer off at a time when they can least afford it,” Ms Cleeland said.
“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.
“We 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.”
Ms Cleeland said local businesses and individuals are desperate for cost-of-living relief.
“I’ve had so many people contacting me about the upcoming Power Saving Bonus. They need energy bill relief as prices continue to skyrocket across the state,” Ms Cleeland said.
“There are manufacturing businesses, farm business and small businesses in general that are really feeling the impact of increased power prices.”
The price hike comes as the Andrews Government confirms it is seeking Commonwealth funding to support its SEC energy plan.
To date, only $20 million of the promised $1 billion initial investment has been allocated.
Ms Cleeland said the Andrews Government needs to explain where the money is coming from and who is going to fund it.
“It’s time for the Government to explain to regional Victorians how it will work and how it will reduce their energy prices and guarantee Victoria’s future energy supplies.”