Energy Policy – Ministerial Response
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Original adjournment matter from Juliana Addison MP to Parliament –
I direct my adjournment to the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change. The action I seek is for her to provide me with an update on how the Victorian government is continuing to support Victorians who are paying more for power than they should.
When we came to government we promised to make energy fairer and more affordable for Victorians, and we have delivered.
The $1.3 billion Solar Homes program continues to help Victorians take control of their energy bills by installing a power station on their roof. There have been over 200 000 installations by Victorian homes for rebated solar panels, solar batteries and solar hot water systems since August 2018, and over 1800 installed in my electorate of Wendouree alone.
Solar Homes is leading to significant reductions in energy bills for families who need it the most, with around’s 57 per cent of solar rebates going to households with incomes of less than $100 000 and around 7 per cent going to those earning less than $20 000 a year.
The recent announcement that the $250 power saving bonus will be extended to all Victorians from 1 July is proof that this government takes cost of living relief seriously. It has been so wonderful to meet the many people have attended my office to seek help with their energy bills through the $250 power saving bonus, with 11 000 of my constituents accessing the program to date.
One of the best outcomes for energy consumers has been the Victorian Energy Compare website. This website is the only free and independent online energy price comparison service in Victoria, with data showing that seven out of 10 users can save money by switching energy offers, with typical savings of $330 on energy bills in the first year alone.
I thank the minister for her ongoing commitment to lower energy prices for households and businesses, and I look forward to an update on further measures that will continue to support households across my community of Ballarat in addressing the cost of living.
Response from the Hon Lily D’Ambrosio MP, Minister for Energy, Minister for Environment and Climate Action, & Minister for Solar Homes (28 June 2022) –
As part of the Victorian Budget 2022/23, the Andrews Labor Government will invest $250 million in a new $250 Power Saving Bonus from 1 July 2022, driving down the cost of living right across the state. Through the new program, all Victorian Households are eligible to receive a once-off payment of $250 to ease the cost-of-living pressures.
In addition to receiving a $250 payment, the new Power Saving Bonus program encourages Victorians to compare their household energy prices by using the Government’s Victorian Energy Compare website. User data from the website shows that over that last year, seven out of every 10 users were able to save money by switching energy offers, with typical annual savings of $330 on energy bills in the first year of switching alone. The Victorian Energy Compare website is the only free and independent online energy price comparison service available to Victorian energy consumers.
From 1 July 2022, Victorian households can apply for the new $250 Bonus by visiting the website (www.compare.energy.vic.gov.au) or by calling the helpline (1800 000 832) to be connected with one of the community outreach partners supporting the Bonus program.
Since the Solar Homes program commenced in August 2018, it has helped more than 198,000 householders and rental providers to install a solar panel (PV), battery or hot water system, with more than $388 million in rebates paid. The average Victorian household with a residential solar system is saving up to $1,073 each year on energy bills.
Ballarat has enthusiastically embraced the Solar Homes program, with a total of 3,555 installations completed. This includes solar panels for homes and rental properties, solar batteries and solar hot water systems. Additionally, the Victorian Government’s Solar for Business Program launched in June 2021, and has already been taken up by sixty-five businesses across Ballarat, placing the community sixth on the list of the top ten LGAs in Victoria to take up the rebate offering.
The Government’s $3,000 Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) subsidy was introduced in May 2021 to encourage the uptake of zero emissions vehicles to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions from Victoria’s transport sector. Our aim is for 50 per cent of all new car sales to be ZEVs by 2030, to transition away from fossil fuel powered vehicles to a cleaner, greener and more affordable way of driving.
The Program is providing 20,000 subsidies over three years to improve the affordability and availability of ZEVs for Victorians. This is a $46 million investment in Victoria’s transition to a clean energy future and is the first program of its kind in Australia. At 14 June 2022, fifty six subsidies have been paid to residents of Ballarat for the purchase of eligible ZEVs through this program.
Finally, the Victorian Government’s Home Heating and Cooling Upgrades Program is helping 250,000 low-income and vulnerable households improve their thermal comfort and reduce their energy bills. The program opened in August 2021 and offers eligible households a rebate of $1,000 to reduce the upfront cost of replacing old inefficient heaters with energy-efficient reverse-cycle air conditioners, with a limit of one rebate per household. Two Hundred and eighty Ballarat households have an approved application to take up this offer, while fifty-one households have already installed an energy efficient reverse cycle air conditioner through this program.