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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 4 August 2015) . . Page.. 2206 ..

This bill will increase Canberrans’ cost of living. When a large business decides it wants to save money by upgrading its heating and cooling system, it will be Canberra families that will foot the bill to subsidise it. If a supermarket or hardware store wants to upgrade its lights, it is Canberra families who will pay. This is what we saw after the introduction of the original act back in 2012. At that time Mr Seselja spoke on the bill as it was proposed.

A Canberra Times article of 14 June 2013 highlighted a 3.5 per cent increase in electricity prices from July 2013 due to network charges and the introduction of the EEIS, according to the Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission which determined that approximately one-third of the increase was due to the effects of the EEIS. A year later, in June 2014, we saw another Canberra Times article bemoaning that electricity charges were going up 4.3 per cent from 1 July 2014. Luckily we saw the repeal of the carbon tax to offset those growing costs for Canberra families.

We will support this bill today in that it increases opportunities for low income households in the ACT to reduce energy costs as well as usage but our concerns remain the same as they were when the act was introduced in 2012, that for most Canberra households it will push up their cost of living rather than bring it down. It was, in fact, the repeal of the carbon tax that brought electricity bills down for Canberrans more recently. We will support the bill today.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (12.21): The ACT’s energy efficiency improvement scheme has been running since 2013 and was intended to drive energy efficiency across the ACT by imposing an obligation on energy retailers to deliver a specified number of energy efficiency savings across households with a focus on low income households in the ACT. In the independent energy efficiency improvement scheme review by Jacobs we are told:

The EEIS is estimated to have abated around 238,000 tons of carbon emissions since commencement, with 50,719 activities undertaken in 24,386 homes. Average emissions abatement for household is 9.8 tons of CO2 equivalent. A fixed emissions benefit is ascribed to every household undertaking a given activity.

The next point from the Jacobs review I think is very important. It goes to some of the observations that Ms Lawder was just making:

The estimated net present value energy cost savings is $1,614 per participating household, or $318 in annual savings. Based on an assumed cost of $37 a ton CO 2 equivalent, on average the cost to each household was estimated to be around $18.68 for 2013 and $33.25 in 2014.

Modelling of the recommended target level demonstrates net savings for households on average, noting, of course, that not all households will participate. Actual savings for participating households are expected to be higher, as has been observed in the first three years of the program. It is important to note that while costs associated with the scheme will end with the end of the scheme, savings will continue to accrue for the lifetime of the implemented measures. Aggregate lifetime bill savings from the residential sector are estimated at $106 million in present value terms.

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