Frequently asked questions

What is the EEIS? How does it work?

The EEIS is a retailer obligation energy efficiency scheme. It works by placing an obligation on retailers to achieve energy savings in households and small to medium enterprises.

The EEIS is funded by electricity retailers, who pass a portion of those costs through to ACT electricity customers. However the benefits of expected energy savings are estimated to be significantly greater to the economy than the costs of the scheme.

All retailers selling electricity to ACT customers have an obligation to contribute towards energy savings in the ACT based on their electricity sales in the ACT. There are two types of obliged retailers in the ACT:

  • Tier 1 retailer – an electricity retailer with more than 500,000MWh of sales per annum and at least 5,000 customers. In the ACT there is currently only one Tier 1 retailer, ActewAGL.
  • Tier 2 retailers – electricity retailers with less than 500,000MWh of sales per annum and/or less than 5,000 customers. Tier 2 retailers may meet their Retailer Energy Savings Obligation by undertaking eligible activities or by paying an Energy Savings Contribution (ESC). The ESC is set by the Minister based on the estimated cost of compliance for a tier 1 retailer.

What is the scheme trying to achieve?

The objectives of the EEIS are to:

  • encourage the efficient use of energy
  • reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with stationary energy use in the Territory
  • reduce household and business energy use and costs
  • increase opportunities for priority households to reduce energy use and costs.

When does the EEIS start and finish?

The EEIS commenced on 1 January 2013. It is legislated to run initially until 2015, however, the Government’s amendments will extend the EEIS to 31 December 2020.

Continuing the EEIS will contribute to deliver substantial energy, greenhouse gas savings and enhanced social equity outcomes—all at a net economic benefit to the Territory.

This contributes to achieving the Government’s greenhouse gas reduction targets, whilst also reducing energy bill stress for households and small-to-medium enterprises.

An independent review of the EEIS was completed and tabled in the Legislative Assembly in September 2014. The review analysed activity undertaken to date and drew on extensive internal and external stakeholder consultation.

The outcomes of the review highlighted that there is advantage in continuing the EEIS as complementary to the Government’s focus on reducing the GHG intensity of the electricity grid. Reducing energy consumption can reduce the costs associated with electricity use and a 90 per cent renewable energy target. The independent review estimated that participating households would save in the order of $1600 over the lifetime of activities undertaken to-date.

Who can participate in the EEIS? How can energy consumers get involved?

Any household or small to medium enterprise can participate in the EEIS.

You can contact your electricity retailer, or any retailer in the ACT. Further information can also be found on this website

ActewAGL’s Energy Efficiency team makes free, energy saving house calls to homes in the ACT to install products that can help reduce your energy bills. These products include standby power controllers, energy efficient light bulbs and draught stoppers and are fitted by an authorised installer at a time that is convenient to you.

Call ActewAGL on 1300 789 002 to book your free Energy Saving House Call or register online at www.actewagl.com.au

ActewAGL’s Fridge Buyback scheme will take away your old fridge or freezer, dispose of it responsibly and give eligible customers a $30 rebate on their next electricity bill.

Call ActewAGL on 1300 136 008 to pick up your old fridge or freezer.

Is it free?

There is no requirement for retailers to provide all products and installations for free but retailers may offer activities at low or no cost to the consumer, or provide other incentives for consumers such as discounts, delayed payments or other methods. Consumer contributions for activities need to be agreed between the retailer and the consumer.

What is an eligible activity?

An eligible activity is an activity the Minister determines can be undertaken by a retailer to count towards its Retailer Energy Savings Obligation. Eligible activities are intended to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.

It is up to the each retailer to determine which of the notified activities it may provide at any particular time.

What activities are currently being offered by the EEIS? Will this change?

There are a wide range of activities and products from which retailers may choose to meet their energy savings obligation under the EEIS. As retailers may choose which activities they undertake, some activities may not be offered by retailers. Currently retailers are undertaking activities such as installing efficient lighting, energy saving standby power controllers and door seals and removing old inefficient refrigerators.

Some existing activities included in the residential sector under the EEIS have been made available to the business sector. These activities are of particular relevance to small businesses and community groups.

Additional activities for business premises will be phased in during the scheme. The activities to be considered include activities for lighting, refrigerative displays and motors, such as those allowed under the Victorian and NSW schemes. Inclusion of activities is contingent on consultation with retailers regarding their interest in undertaking these

As the ACT moves closer to its target of 90% renewable energy, some of the activities involving efficient gas systems are likely to become less beneficial than the equivalent activity delivered with electricity. This is because the emissions factor for electricity is decreasing significantly, whereas emissions associated with gas will stay relatively constant.

Who can deliver activities? How can service providers of energy efficient products get involved?

Currently, activity providers must be authorised to undertake activities by a retailer or a person contracted directly by the retailer. The amendments proposed to the EEIS will provide a mechanism for the Administrator to register ‘approved abatement providers’ who are eligible to undertake EEIS activities in the ACT and create abatement that may be purchased by a retailer to meet an energy savings target.

Is commercial lighting part of the EEIS?

Commercial lighting is not currently included under the EEIS, however, this was included as an activity under the latest EEIS modelling. The modelling results predicted this to be a very attractive activity in the ACT in the future, and significant uptake of this activity to 2020. The EEIS Administrator is progressing the inclusion of commercial lighting under the EEIS as a priority—including exploring options for harmonisation with other jurisdictional schemes, facilitated by the proposed amendments to the Act.

What other energy efficiency programs are available in the ACT?

ACTSmart household and business energy programs provide information and practical advice about saving water and energy, reducing waste and greenhouse gas emissions.

For more information visit www.actsmart.act.gov.au which provides information about ACT Government rebates and assistance programs for homes, businesses, schools and the community.

What is a priority household?

A priority household is a residential premises in which 1 person who lives at the premises:

  • is a recipient of an ACT Government concession
  • holds a Commonwealth pensioner concession card or health care card
  • holds a Department of Veterans Affairs pensioner concession card, TPI gold repatriation health care card, war widows repatriation health care card, or gold repatriation health care card.

Other classes of people may be added by regulation.

What is the Priority Household target?

The Priority Household Target is the proportion of pension-card-holding households which must be targeted for Scheme benefits in any particular year. The target was set at 25 per cent from 2013 until 2015 and will be set at 20 per cent in 2016. This represents the estimated proportion of ACT households eligible for energy and other concessions.

The Scheme has been highly successful in delivering energy savings to priority households. They accounted for 29 per cent of recipients in the first two-and-a-half years of the program.

Scheme delivery to priority and non-priority hosueholds

What are the benefits for households?

Participating households are expected to benefit significantly. Average savings as a result of the EEIS are estimated at $3.20 per week in 2020.

What is the new scheme target?

The Energy Saving Target will be set at 8.6 per cent for each year until 2020. This represents a similar level of ambition to the EEIS in 2015, in terms of anticipated total scheme costs and projected electricity and gas savings, but reflects declining emissions associated with saving electricity in the future in the ACT.

The target can be changed and will continue to be monitored for effectiveness in encouraging cost-effective energy efficiency activities.

Amendments to the Act require that six months notice be given if increasing the target to ensure retailers and activity providers have adequate time to prepare for an increase in ambition.

What are the expected Greenhouse gas savings?

Lifetime emissions saved as a result of the EEIS over the period 2016 to 2020 are estimated at 515,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.

Cumulative progress towards abatement targets

Why have GHG savings targets declined?

The reduction in projected lifetime savings compared to the period 2013 to 2015 reflects the falling emissions associated with saving electricity in the ACT as a result of the ACT’s 90 per cent renewable energy target, with the whole scheme scaled accordingly.

How does a retailer meet a Retailer Energy Savings Obligation (RESO)?

The Act gives retailers options to meet their obligations. Tier 1 retailers can undertake any combination of eligible activities or acquire approved abatement factors from other retailers who undertake eligible activities. Tier 2 retailers can deliver eligible activities, or can opt to pay an energy savings contribution for all or part of their energy savings obligation.

How is the RESO set?

The RESO for each retailer is based on their electricity sales in a compliance period.

What is a Tier 1 retailer?

A Tier 1 retailer is an electricity retailer with an authorisation to sell electricity in the ACT, more than 500,000MWh of sales per annum in the ACT and at least 5,000 ACT customers.

A retailer transitions from being a Tier 2 to a Tier 1 retailer in the compliance period following the calendar year in which they exceeded the 5,000 customer and 500,000 MWh sales thresholds.

What is a Tier 2 retailer?

A Tier 2 retailer is an electricity retailer with an authorisation to sell electricity in the ACT, less than 500,000MWh of sales per annum and/or less than 5,000 customers.

Are certificates or other permits created or traded under the EEIS?

No. The EEIS is not a certificate or permit based scheme.

What is an abatement factor and can it be traded?

Each activity that is undertaken is assigned an abatement factor that can be counted towards a Retailer Energy Savings Obligation. A retailer can acquire an abatement factor from another retailer but it cannot be traded outside the Scheme.

Is the EEIS linked to the carbon tax?

No. The EEIS is not linked to the carbon tax. 

Are activities carried out under other schemes eligible activities for the EEIS?

For an activity to be compliant it must be carried out in the ACT and meet all requirements in EEIS codes of practice. Activities carried out under other schemes are not eligible.

Are Queanbeyan customers eligible?

Residents of NSW are not eligible to participate in the ACT EEIS, unless they are an ACT property owner purchasing products or arranging activities for installation in a residential property in the ACT. NSW residents may be eligible to participate in the NSW Energy Savings Scheme (ESS). For more information on the ESS go to www.ess.nsw.gov.au

How do the amendments increase interstate opportunities

The proposed Amendments provide a mechanism for the Administrator to recognise abatement created in the ACT under recognised activities in ‘other-jurisdictional schemes’. For example, the EEIS could work with NSW to adopt the NSW Energy Savings Scheme’s commercial lighting activity in-full (noting the requirement to comply with local codes and regulations, for example in relation to electrical safety, would still apply).

How do the amendments increase opportunities for other energy efficiency service providers to deliver activities under the EEIS?

The changes to the Act provide a mechanism for the Administrator to register ‘approved abatement providers’ who are eligible to undertake EEIS activities in the ACT and create abatement that may be purchased by a retailer (rather than being directly contracted by a retailer to undertake an activity).

The ACT has commenced discussions with other jurisdictions with energy efficiency schemes to explore options for establishing complementary registration requirements and opportunities for mutual recognition.

The Scheme only targets electricity retailers. Is it only targeting a reduction in electricity use?

The energy efficiency activities eligible under the EEIS target reductions in a range of energy sources including electricity, gas, LPG and solid fuels such as wood.

How is the EEIS paid for?

The Scheme is funded by electricity retailers who will pass on a portion of their costs to ACT electricity customers. It is expected that the pass through costs will be less than the average energy savings achieved by ACT consumers who participate in the Scheme and receive eligible energy efficiency activities.

Is the EEIS a Government initiative?

Yes, the Scheme is part of the Government’s Climate Change Action Plan 2 and the Sustainable Energy Policy. It will also help to meet the ACT’s greenhouse gas reduction targets set out in the Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act 2010.

Who administers the Scheme?

The Executive Director, Regulation and Services, Environment and Planning Directorate is the Administrator of the EEIS. The Administrator is supported by a team within the Directorate.

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