Page 2039 - Week 07 - Thursday, 4 June 2015

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Debate (on motion by Mr Smyth) adjourned to the next sitting.

Energy Efficiency (Cost of Living) Improvement Amendment Bill 2015

Mr Corbell, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Health, Minister for the Environment and Minister for Capital Metro) (10.43): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

The Energy Efficiency (Cost of Living) Improvement Amendment Bill 2015 contains amendments to extend and enhance the operation of the Energy Efficiency Improvement Scheme—EEIS—provided for by the Energy Efficiency (Cost of Living) Improvement Act 2012. The intent of the Energy Efficiency (Cost of Living) Improvement Act is to provide for a market-based scheme that places an obligation on electricity retailers in the ACT to achieve energy savings. The act aims to encourage the efficient use of energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with stationary energy use in the territory, reduce energy use and costs and, in particular, assist low income households suffering from utility cost stress.

The EEIS has operated with great success in the ACT since 1 January 2013. More than 50,000 households have participated in the scheme to date, including over 14,000 low income households. Over 550,000 energy saving items, including light globes, standby power controllers and door seals have been installed, saving an estimated 440,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, and over 1,500 inefficient refrigerators and freezers have also been decommissioned, including de-gassing, and destroyed.

The EEIS act currently provides for the scheme to run until 31 December 2015. A review of the operation of the act undertaken last year found that the EEIS has been highly successful to date and that there would be significant advantage in continuing the EEIS beyond the current legislated end date.

Over half of participating households surveyed as part of the review reported a reduction in their energy use resulting from the activities, and less than a third reported that they may have purchased these products within the next 12 months without the scheme. In addition, around a quarter of all households reported that their participation in the scheme led them to undertake further energy saving activities. Not only is this policy having a direct positive impact on ACT households but these households are also going on to seek out further energy savings themselves.

Consultation with industry and community stakeholders has revealed strong stakeholder support for continuing the EEIS, recognising the important role the scheme plays in reducing cost of living pressures for households and reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.

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