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New 'Bait And Switch' Laws To Stop Energy Companies Ripping Consumers Off

Energy retailers will no longer be able to lure in Victorian customers with low prices, only to increase the price within month, thanks to new laws.

The state's Essential Services Commission has established the new rules with hopes to come down on 'bait and switch' tactics.

Commission chairperson Kate Symons said the changes are designed to make energy contracts simpler, to provide customers with more confidence and certainty.

"Up until now, customers could sign up to what looks like a great energy deal only to have that deal disappear in just a few weeks or months," Symons said in a statement.

"From July 1, energy retailers will not be able to increase prices more than once a year, and must maintain any discounts, credits or rebates for the entire length of a customer's contract."

Symons said these changes, along with a cap on pay-on-time discounts, will provide greater price certainty and stability for Victorians.

“We are changing the energy rules to help untie the knots found in energy contracts that have confused and frustrated consumers," she added.

Energy retailers will no longer be able to lure in Victorian customers with low prices only to increase the price within months following a rule change. Image: Getty

“These reforms will help Victorians have confidence in the deal they’re signing up to, knowing they will be protected and there won’t be any nasty surprises."

As part of the changes, all advertised electricity offers must include a comparison to the Victorian Default Offer.

In addition, companies must also roll customers onto the Victorian Default Offer for electricity and the best offer for gas at the end of their contract."

The energy regulator said it is also now working to stop retailers from being able to back-bill customers for more than four months.

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Contact of the author elyons@newtorkten.com.au