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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 9 May 2018) . . Page.. 1710 ..

our buildings in order to maintain a reasonable level of comfort during these highs and lows.

There is a lot we can do to improve the energy performance of our buildings to assist with meeting this demand. But one of the barriers levelled at climate action and renewables is the cost incurred in their take-up, particularly for those who can least afford it. This motion calls on the ACT government to support everyone in the community, particularly our most vulnerable, by improving energy efficiency in lower income households and public housing stock. We have already made inroads into this through the energy efficiency improvement schemes, by replacing inefficient heating systems. The pilot was a partnership between ActewAGL and the ACT government to help low income households reduce their energy consumption. In six months, this program has already exceeded its target of 200, helping 211 public housing tenants to replace their old, inefficient heaters with electric reverse-cycle air conditioners. The change helps households reduce their energy bills in winter and improve their comfort in summer.

The energy efficiency improvement scheme also requires electricity retailers to provide energy saving equipment to households and businesses, including targeted assistance to prioritised low income households. Under this program, over 1.1 million energy efficiency items have been installed in over 70,000 ACT households. This includes 17,800 priority low income households. To ensure low income households benefit from the scheme, retailers are required to deliver to priority households a certain proportion of energy savings. It is estimated that by 2020 the program will save ACT households $3.20 a week on average.

Since starting on 1 January 2013, the energy efficiency improvement scheme has provided draught proofing, replaced inefficient ducted gas systems, replaced inefficient water heaters and replaced inefficient fridges, to name but a few initiatives delivered under the scheme.

The ACT government has aimed at providing additional access to solar power generation through a trial on a virtual power plant. The trial links more than 400 Canberra households to a solar battery system as part of Evoenergy’s demand management program. Early reports suggest households in the trial have reduced their power bills to just $1 a day. The benefit of creating a virtual power plant is that hundreds of household batteries work together to provide a stable, cheap and reliable power source to households that are part of the system.

In addition, the solar for low income households program offers subsidies of up to 60 per cent to eligible participants, as well as a three-year interest-free loan to pay off the difference. This program will again act to reduce power bills for low income households by helping to install a solar power system and reducing reliance on the grid for energy.

The Public Housing Renewal Taskforce has been another example of the ACT government investing in energy efficiency improvements for our most vulnerable. The Minister for Housing and Suburban Development will probably talk

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