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ECCV Submission to the Victorian Essential Services Commission’s Supporting Customers, Avoiding Labels: Energy Hardship Inquiry Draft Report, September 2015

Multiculturalism Fair trading regulation Workforce diversity Ethnic relations Ethnicity Energy Power resources Ethnic communities Cultural competency Consumer protection Public utilities Victoria

Recently the ECCV was requested to review the Essential Services Commission’s (ESC) draft report Supporting Customers, Avoiding Labels: Energy Hardship Inquiry Report, September 2015.  While ECCV understands that the term ‘vulnerable’ can sometimes be abused, the significant changes proposed by the ESC’s draft report will tip the regulatory balance in favour of the retailer and weaken the consumer protections for CALD consumers in Victoria.  

The proposed framework relies on clear communication between customer and retailer in meeting the ‘engagement’ principle to understand their rights and responsibilities. ECCV believes the Active Assistance Programs are not culturally responsive enough to effectively reach vulnerable CALD consumers. ECCV is concerned that such a framework could justify disconnections by the retailer with impunity, leaving CALD consumers without legal appeal. 

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