Telemarketers Begone! Victorian VEU And Solar Homes Ban – Solar Quotes

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As of the beginning of May, telemarketing has been banned from the long-running Victorian Energy Upgrades (VEU) and Solar Homes programs.

First to the VEU, which helps Victorians cut power bills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by providing rebates or discounts to upgrade inefficient appliances. Supported products include eligible:

  • Clothes dryers
  • Fridges and freezers
  • Heating and cooling
  • Home energy rating assessments
  • Hot water systems
  • In-home displays
  • Insulation
  • Lighting
  • Pool pumps
  • Shower heads
  • Televisions
  • Weather sealing
  • Window glazing

Some of the VEU incentives are quite generous. For example, $3,600 can be saved up-front on replacing a whole-of-house gas ducted heating system with a reverse-cycle system according to an example provided, with significant ongoing savings on energy costs.

All Victorian households and businesses are eligible for VEU rebates, and the program has supported more than 2 million households since it kicked off in 2009. And of course, wherever government rebates and incentives exist, there will be unscrupulous parties trying to take advantage of the situation; engaging in dodgy practices such as high-pressure sales.

While the prior introduction of the VEU Code of Conduct and additional enforcement powers were granted to the program regulator, complaints about VEU-related marketing misconduct grew. And based on consumer complaints, the nature of the misconduct was getting worse.

Following extensive consultation over the past year, the Allan Government has banned VEU telemarketing, and retailers in the VEU program will no longer be allowed to doorknock from 1 August 2024.

“We’re banning nuisance marketing practices like cold-calling and door-knocking from our energy programs – building trust in the system so the program can continue to move from strength to strength,” said Minister for Energy and Resources Lily D’Ambrosio.

Regulator and administrator of the VEU program, the Essential Services Commission (ESC), will actively monitor compliance with the bans. The ESC has enforcement powers including issuing penalty notices, applying conditions, suspending or cancelling accreditation, civil litigation or criminal prosecution proceedings against businesses that do not comply.

“Breaches of the bans will be taken seriously and we encourage consumers and industry to report breaches of the bans directly to us so we can investigate and act,” said ESC Chairperson and Commissioner Kate Symons.

Further details regarding the VEU bans can be found here.

Solar Homes Also A No-Go Zone

Given the VEU has been operating since 2009, the bans have been a very long time coming. The Victorian Government was faster to act on door-knocking associated with the hugely popular Solar Homes program, which provides rebates on solar power systems, batteries, heat pumps and solar hot water systems.

A doorknocking ban has been in place since 2021, however, the ban on telemarketing for Solar Homes is new; also coming into effect on May 1.

“This strengthens consumer protections under the Solar Homes Program, particularly for vulnerable cohorts, from persistent, unsolicited or nuisance calls and pressure sales tactics,” said Solar Victoria, the agency overseeing the program.

Hopefully these bans will lead to quieter evenings, fewer unwanted visitors and better outcomes for Victorians looking to save on energy costs with solar panels and/or energy efficient appliances. If you’re not a fan of telemarketers in general and regardless what state you live in, it’s also a good idea to add your number to the Australian Government’s Do Not Call Register – it works (to a degree).

Related: How To Deal With Solar And Battery Telemarketer Pests.

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