Victorian Energy Upgrades program protection & expansion needed, 22 June 2023
Today’s announcement by the Victorian government to ban high pressure sales tactics under its Victorian Energy Upgrades (VEU) program is welcomed by the peak body representing businesses that participate in delivering that state’s energy efficiency target to 2030. A consultation on the ban will commence within weeks including telemarketing.
“This highly successful flagship program is delivering energy and bill savings for millions of Victorian homes and businesses and we need its effective protection so it can be expanded and extended in line with net zero emissions reduction targets to 2045”, said Energy Savings Industry Association President Mr Rod Woolley.
“We especially welcome the Victorian government’s ongoing commitment via the VEU to support the most vulnerable households and small businesses all under pressure as cost-of-living challenges escalate. We look forward to the Victorian government releasing new initiatives to support electrification. The VEU is the perfect proven vehicle to anchor this transformation pathway for consumers.
The ESIA is advocating for VEU improvement opportunities that align with the government’s net zero commitments and gas substitution roadmap strategy:
- more support for the millions of Victorian households highly reliant on expensive gas space and water heating to switch to electric as the grid decarbonises in the next several years. Getting a new gas appliance now when electric ones are likely to be more efficient and cheaper to run is also a ticking time bomb for climate as new gas appliances lock in future emissions for decades.
- additional targeted grants coupled with the VEU that enable consumer-appropriate roll out at scale, building on successes of other complementary Victorian government programs including the Small Business energy Saver and the Victorian Health Homes program. (Ongoing cash handouts to offset bill increases don’t deliver permanent relief like upgrades of inefficient appliances.)
- banning incentives by gas companies and equipment suppliers offering substantial upfront discounts or cashbacks to get new gas connections and appliances.
- including large energy users in the VEU as these mainly manufacturing and industrial sites use most of the gas consumed by Victoria and tailored upgrades are high impact.
- more focus on commercial buildings transformation like air conditioning chiller upgrades and smart energy management technologies.
- a peak demand reduction scheme providing incentives to reduce energy use at key times like in summer for cooling or in winter for heating.
“Strong VEU program enhancement supporting commercial rollout coupled with further consumer protections are what Victorians and industry are calling for,’ said Mr Woolley.
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