Opinion

Incentive to shop around

by
April 24, 2018

Premier Daniel Andrews’ $50 cash bonus for Victorians who use an energy deal website will help shine a light on energy retailers, in theory.

The $48 million bonus, which will be part of next month’s budget, means Victorian households will receive a cash handout if they use the Victorian Government’s comparison website.

The hope is it will keep power companies honest.

The News is of the opinion the policy is money well spent.

The Opposition has called the package an election bribe, blaming Mr Andrews for forcing people’s power bills up.

‘‘This is not a policy, this is simply an election-year stunt by the man who put your power bills up,’’ Shadow Treasurer Michael O’Brien said.

A St Vincent de Paul Society analysis showed average energy bills rose about $300 last year — but that this could be reduced substantially by shopping around.

Yes, it seems a coincidence that this announcement was made less than a year before an election.

But energy retailers have been fleecing consumers for years.

Power companies bank on the fact people are too busy to shop around and get a better deal.

Not only will the $50 encourage people to do more research to help themselves find a better deal on energy, the competition it will create between the likes of Origin Energy, AGL Energy and EnergyAustralia can only be a positive thing.

How often do you ignore cold calls from the companies above?

The process of dealing with these telemarketers over the phone to get the best deal is enough to scare the most patient of us away.

For those who have already shopped around, kudos to you.

But for most, this cash bonus will entice us to jump online and browse the different deals on offer.

Yes, more needs to be done to fix the broken energy situation.

But the announcement is just a start in addressing the soaring cost of energy, which is having a crippling affect on people struggling to pay their bills.

Money in our pocket will be better spent than money in the Victorian Government’s.

Time will tell if this is more than just a Band-Aid solution.

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