Page 2258 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 4 August 2015

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Since the EEIS commenced in January 2013 more than 50,000 Canberra households have participated in the scheme. It is worth noting that a suburb like, for example, Isaacs has had one of the highest participation rates, with over 53 per cent of households participating in the scheme, and over 50 Canberra suburbs have a participation rate above 30 per cent. This is vindication of this market-based mechanism to drive energy efficiency and save households money on their electricity bills.

I made clear at the time that this legislation was first introduced that I wanted the government to move beyond a scheme that simply provided a limited number of grants to a very small number of households to improve their energy efficiency and instead wanted a scheme that would reach tens of thousands of Canberra households to save money on their electricity bill. I am pleased to say that that objective has been achieved through this legislation. Instead of reaching just hundreds or maybe a couple of thousand households, we are now reaching tens and tens of thousands of households, and we are saving each and every one of those households on average around $1,600 over the life of the energy saving measures being implemented in those households.

More important than that, we are also reaching tens of thousands of low income households. This is very important because people on low and fixed incomes are the households that struggle the most when it comes to paying their energy bills. So they are the households that benefit most from energy savings and energy efficiency.

When we look at the total number of participating households to date, we know that over 550,000 energy saving items have been installed, saving around 440,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions since the scheme commenced in 2013. This includes the replacement of over 465,000 incandescent light globes with energy efficient ones and, as a result, approximately 10 tonnes of inefficient lights have been removed and the components recycled. Over 43,000 door seals have been installed, keeping the hot air in during winter and keeping it out in summer. More than 85,000 standby power controls have been installed, preventing that wasteful use of standby power, and we have seen over 1,500 old, inefficient fridges and freezers retired, their environmentally damaging gasses removed and the components recycled. This is a tremendous effort and a significant scale across so many Canberra households.

Momentum is also building for the latest initiative that has been brought about by the energy efficiency improvement scheme. Many members will have seen the advertisements from ActewAGL for their downlight upgrade offer. Since ActewAGL expanded their lighting activities through this program in June, they have installed approximately 25,000 LED downlights in the first month. The new LED lights they are installing carry a lower fire risk than the hotter quartz halogen lights they replace and they will last for up to 10 years following installation.

The EEIS is also creating jobs in the ACT economy. There are 35 full-time equivalent staff and contractors delivering this program on behalf of the electricity retailers, and that includes 11 electricians. The government expects this number to continue to grow as the EEIS is continued as a result of this bill.

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