COTA Victoria appreciates the opportunity from the Essential Services Commission (ESC) to provide feedback on the Victorian Default Offer (VDO) review 2023 – 24.
While we acknowledge the decision to increase the annual VDO price, in reflection of the increased cost of electricity provision, we are concerned about the impact such a drastic rise in the VDO price will have on more vulnerable communities, such as older Victorians.
Daily living expenses and the cost of living should be taken into consideration for reducing the VDO price. The substantial 33.2% increase of average payments for electricity costs will impact vulnerable elements of the older population, with many reliant on government funds and concession prices to help their current financial circumstances. The accompaniment of escalating gas prices will heighten ongoing issues such as an increase in digital exclusion and negative health implications for older Victorians.
COTA Victoria recommends that further detail should be provided on what appropriate supports will be made available to those impacted by the VDO rise. We are increasingly worried about the health and wellbeing of Victoria’s older, vulnerable population and the impact that increased energy prices will have on older people’s ability to manage their finances.