Consumer experiences following energy market reforms in Victoria: qualitative research with community support workers

Community support workers who provide energy and financial assistance to vulnerable households were interviewed to understand the energy issues encountered, client experiences seeking resolution, and the impacts of market reforms in Victoria.

The project identified widespread inconsistencies in retailer practices and that  many households still struggle to navigate the energy market and access appropriate support from their energy retailer despite reforms intended to improve consumer outcomes.

The Consumer Policy Research Centre engaged the Emerging Technologies Research Lab to interview community support workers about the energy issues their vulnerable clients were facing and their experiences of advocating for resolutions with energy retailers.

“Despite recent market reforms in Victoria, retailer responses to vulnerable households still often lack fairness, consistency and alignment with the Payment Difficulty Framework. As a result, community support workers are busy advocating on behalf of households to achieve reasonable outcomes for energy consumers.”

Dr Larissa Nicholls, Adjunct Research Fellow, Emerging Technologies Research Lab

21 interviews with 44 support workers from 18 community organisations were conducted quarterly between mid-2020 and mid-2021. The research was initiated by the Essential Services Commission to better understand the impacts of recent energy market reforms in Victoria, to inform their ‘Getting to Fair’ strategy, and to identify areas for further work.

View the report, here.


Monash: Dr Larissa Nicholls and Dr Kari Dahlgren


Larissa Nicholls

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