Victoria's power companies will soon have to text customers about outages before they happen. Image by Darren England/AAP PHOTOS

Energy

Prior notice for power outages in Victoria

2020-05-08 12:09:32

Victorians will soon be notified via text message or email of electricity outages before they happen and told if any planned works are cancelled.

The Essential Services Commission has proposed the changes to how electricity distributors communicate with customers following a code review, with the recommendations published in a draft decision on Thursday.

“We want to modernise the way distributors communicate with Victorians so they can be prepared,” ESC energy director Sarah McDowell said in a statement.

“These changes would also strengthen protection for life support customers who would receive hard copy notification as well as any electronic communication.”

Other proposed changes include bringing forward payments under the guaranteed service level scheme, so that customers are paid sooner when eligible; increased payment levels; and disclosing reasons for planned outages.

“Customers expect to be recognised for experiencing particularly poor performance on their network and it’s important that they receive payments in a timely fashion when they are eligible,” Ms McDowell said.

The distribution code reforms are proposed to come into effect from November 1, 2020 for electricity retailers and January 1, 2021 for electricity distributors.