Hey, Victorians! Listen up!

The Victorian state government has announced new guidelines for solar companies and energy retailers, banning door-to-door product sales and threatening retailers with fines of up to $1 million if they wrongfully disconnect the electricity of vulnerable Victorians.

Door-to-door sales for solar companies, electricity and gas retailers will be prohibited under the new regulation, deeming the practice “high pressure sales tactics.” The restriction will go into effect for solar businesses on September 1, 2021, but not for electricity retailers until the end of the year.

In a Federal Court judgment earlier this month, a solar company in Victoria was fined $3 million and its director was sentenced to pay $450,000 in connection with its door-knocking tactics.

In that case, the judge ruled that the company’s actions, which involved over 4,300 contracts, might have resulted in millions of dollars in customer losses because the company was selling systems for thousands of dollars higher than prevailing market prices.

Victoria’s Energy Fairness Bill

The ban on the controversial practice of “door-knocking” is being implemented as part of a broader Energy Fairness Bill, introduced by the Labor Andrews Government.

The “Energy Fairness Bill” also includes a ban on electricity and gas retailers using high-pressure sales practices to sign up energy retail contracts, which includes door-to-door sales or cold-calling, beginning at the end of this year. Short-term energy discounts would also be prohibited, as they wind up costing customers more in the long run.

“We are banning high-pressure sales tactics like unsolicited door-to-door sales and cold-calling to protect Victorian households from being taken advantage of by dodgy energy companies,” said Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio.

“We’re putting energy companies on notice – If you have wrongfully disconnected households you will pay a penalty of up to $1 million.”

Penalties of up to $1 million for energy retailers that wrongfully disconnect vulnerable Victorians are another element of the Andrews Government’s “Energy Fairness Bill.”

Reference:

Victorian Government Seeking Door-To-Door Solar Sales Ban, accessed 16 June 
2021, <https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/victoria-solar-doorknocking-mb2009/>