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Government targets energy guzzlers in our homes

The Sydney Morning Herald / 19 January 2018 / Cole Latimer

The Turnbull government is carrying out the first-ever review of the national standards for appliance energy efficiency.

The review of the Greenhouse and Energy Minimum Standards Act (GEMS) will allow the federal government to set national energy efficiency standards for home appliances and equipment.

By bringing in new standards and reducing appliances’ energy consumption, household power bills can be reduced.

“To date, standards under the GEMS Act have saved the average household between $140 and $220 on their electricity bill each year,” Federal Minister for the Environment and Energy Josh Frydenberg said.

 In 2016, it is understood that the legislation saved the nation and energy consumers the equivalent of between $879 million and $1.58 billion and reduced potential carbon emissions by between 4.5 and 6.9 megatonnes.
It comes as the Turnbull government reported a 0.7 percent increase in Australia’s emissions in the year to June 2017, rising by 550 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.

While the review has come as a surprise to energy consumer and efficiency groups, it has been welcomed.

“The energy efficiency legislation is an excellent example of long-term, national, bipartisan policy and is having big impacts on reducing emissions and driving investment,” Energy Users’ Association of Australia chief executive Andrew Richards said.

“Regular reviews like this one ensure that the policy is still meeting the needs of consumers while keeping up with international efficiency standards and the latest technology.

“We hope 2018 will be the year that we can add a national, bipartisan, investment grade energy policy to the suite of initiatives from the government.

“This would have a dramatic impact on reducing costs over the long term, securing generation and driving investment across the country.”

Energy Consumers Australia’s Director of Advocacy and Communications, Chris Alexander, said this review will have a major impact on energy affordability for consumers, and give them more control over their energy usage and power bills.

“This review is an opportunity to make sure the standards and rules around appliances are working for consumers, that they reflect new insights about the way consumers use energy and the rapid improvements we’re seeing in technology,” Mr Alexander told Fairfax Media.

The review will be carried out by law firm Allens’ head of innovation, Anna Collyer.

The review will include consultation with stakeholders such as industry and consumer groups, as well as state, territory, and New Zealand governments.

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