FAQs


Questions from households and businesses

Where can I go to get advice on reducing the energy consumption of my house?

Answer: https://www.actsmart.act.gov.au/quick-tips/energy_saving

What is the EEIS? How does it work?

The EEIS is a compulsory energy efficiency scheme for retailers. 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 are required to contribute towards energy savings based on their electricity sales in the ACT. There are two types of 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 runs from 1 January 2013 until 31 December 2020.

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 to enquire about whether they are offering activities under the scheme.

  • 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.
    You can also call ActewAGL on 1300 136 008 to pick up your old fridge or freezer.
  • ActewAGL is now offering EEIS-supported discounts to upgrade old, inefficient ducted gas systems to high efficiency systems. You could receive up to $4,000* off the purchase price for lower income, priority households and $3,000* off for other households*. The Energy Savings House Calls which provided free efficient LED lights, door seals and ventilation sealing ceased at the end of 2016.
  • Two electricity retailers are offering discounted lighting upgrades for businesses as part of the Energy Efficiency Improvement Scheme. Some lighting upgrades may even cost nothing. Find out what electricity retailers are offering by contacting:

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.
See the list of EEIS Eligible Activities and the list of activities by sector.

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.

Who pays for the activities? Is everything free to consumers?

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.

Will someone contact me to ask me to participate?

You may be contacted directly by your electricity retailer or any other retailer in the ACT to participate.

How will I be contacted about participating?

A retailer or their authorised representative may use various means to contact you to participate in the Scheme, this may include by phone.

Is it compulsory for me to participate?

No, it is not compulsory to participate in the EEIS.

I have had someone knock on my door about the EEIS. Is it legitimate?

A retailer or their authorised representative may contact you by door knocking. All people arranging or undertaking activities that come to your premises must have a photographic identification card issued by a retailer, which includes their installer ID number. To report an installer or a person claiming to be an installer breaching these rules send an email EPD-EEIS@act.gov.au or call the EEIS team on 6207 8022.

Where can I find a retailer?

Find contact details for electricity retailers currently selling electricity in the ACT.

If my energy retailer is not offering activities can I still take part in the Scheme?

Yes, a retailer who is not your normal retailer may undertake activities in your premises with your permission.

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

What is a priority household?

A priority household is a residential premise where 1 person who lives there:

  • 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 original target was 25 per cent from 2013 until 2015 and is now 20 per cent in 2016 and 2017. This is approximately the same proportion of ACT households eligible for energy and other concessions.
The scheme has been successful in delivering savings to low income households. Energy savings items were delivered to over 17,000 priority households from 2013 until the end of 2015.

What are the benefits for households?

Average household savings as a result of the EEIS are estimated to be $3.19 per week in 2020. Participating households are expected to save about $5 per week by 2020.

What are the benefits for businesses?

By taking part in the scheme you will receive products or improvements that will increase the energy efficiency of your business, and potentially reduce your energy use and greenhouse emissions. Products and improvements may also make your premises more comfortable in the hotter and colder parts of the year.

Will business costs go up to fund the scheme?

Estimated average costs to the non-residential sector are difficult to determine due to the significant differences in energy use between businesses. The impacts for various businesses electricity spends are outlined below. Total bill savings accruing in this sector over the lifetime of measures implemented under the EEIS are estimated at $192 Million in net present value terms (as modelled for the 2015 Regulatory Impact Statement).
Whether individual businesses face increased electricity costs will depend on energy efficiency gains each business makes, and on the costs passed through by retailers. Costs will only be passed through as part of the operation of the scheme, whereas energy savings will continue for consumers after the scheme is finished.
See examples of business savings from energy efficiency on the Actsmart website.

Is there a limit on the number of activities or products I can receive?

There are no restrictions placed on how many types of activities may be undertaken in premises as long as they meet the eligibility criteria for each activity or product. Some activities may have a limit on the number of products that can be installed in premises, or the number of products that can be credited to each premises.

How much can I save?

Participating households are expected to save about $5 per week by 2020. How much energy and costs you save will depend on:

  • the amount of energy the you already use, and the relative efficiency of existing premises and appliances compared to the replacement
  • the willingness/ability of the occupants to adopt complementary behaviour change – for example if you start using a new heater more than your previous heater you may not save any energy the number and type of energy efficiency activities undertaken in your business.

What are the expected greenhouse gas savings?

The Scheme is an important component of meeting the greenhouse gas reduction targets under the Climate Change and Greenhouse Reduction Act.
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.

How does a retailer meet a Retailer Energy Savings Obligation?

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 Retailer Energy Savings Obligation set?

The Retailer Energy Savings Obligation (RESO) is defined in Section 13 of the Energy Efficiency (Cost of Living) Improvement Act 2012, and is based on a retailer’s electricity sales in a compliance period. It is calculated as:
RESO = Energy Savings Target x (Electricity Sales x Emissions Multiplier)
From 2016 until 2020 the:

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 rented properties eligible?

Yes, rented properties are eligible under the scheme. A landlord or a tenant can take part in the scheme but tenants and landlords will need to comply with their commercial tenancy agreement. This includes a landlord arranging a time for the activity to be undertaken and a tenant obtaining permission from the landlord to any energy efficiency activities that will add or remove fixtures and fittings, or alter the premises.


While buildings or parts of a building owned by the Government may not be eligible under the EEIS, non-government tenants, and the services they are responsible for such as appliances or lighting, would be, provided they do not trigger NGER reporting requirements.


It is anticipated that hospitality, small office, small trade and small industrial businesses in the private and non-government community organisation sectors will be able to participate in the EEIS in some form, regardless of who owns the building they operate from

.
There is no set cost split for tenants and landlords as this will depend on the individual situation and an agreement will need to be reached between the retailer, landlord and the tenant. The agreement may depend on who is responsible for the appliance or paying the bill for the energy use under the tenancy agreement. For non permanent measures such purchasing plug in appliances, such as standby power controllers, costs may be covered by the person who will own the product.
More information on commercial tenancies

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. For more information on the NSW Energy Savings Scheme visit www.ess.nsw.gov.au

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.

Who administers the scheme?

The Executive Director, Sustainability and Climate Change, Environment and Planning Directorate is the Administrator of the EEIS. The Administrator is supported by a team within the Directorate.

Can a single business take advantage of both Actsmart and EEIS programs??

Yes. Eligible businesses can take advantage of all programs available from the ACT Government through both Actsmart and the EEIS.

How do EEIS and the Actsmart Energy Programs work together?

The ACT Government has a number of programs and subsidies/rebates that make it cheaper and easier for Canberra residents and businesses to reduce their emissions and become more energy efficient. Two such programs are the Actsmart Energy Programs and Energy Efficiency Improvement Scheme (EEIS).

The EEIS requires electricity retailers to undertake energy efficiency improvements in homes or businesses or pay an energy saving contribution. Actsmart Energy Programs are funded through fees paid by electricity retailers as part of the EEIS Energy Saving Contribution.

The Actsmart Energy Programs help businesses and households to reduce emissions and energy costs through programs that complement those offered under EEIS. For instance, Actsmart programs help people to understand their energy use and energy saving options, offer tailored business assessments, action plans and rebates, whereas EEIS mainly provides energy saving items. The range of EEIS activities being offered may change over time, and Actsmart activities will adapt to avoid duplication.

Is my business eligible?

The Actsmart Business Energy and Water program is targeted at small businesses and community organisations.  EEIS programs are generally targeted at small to medium sized businesses.

To be eligible for the Actsmart business program, businesses need to be operating in the ACT, have electricity bills of up to $20,000 per year and/or employ a maximum of 10 full-time equivalent staff.

To be eligible for an EEIS program, a business must be in a building classified under the BCA as commercial, industrial, public or the common areas of multi-residential as either Class 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 or the Common Areas of Class 2.

Businesses are not eligible if they are required to report under the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme, the Australian Government’s Energy Efficiency in Government Operations Policy or the Carbon Neutral ACT Government Framework.

EEIS upgrades cannot be undertaken as part of development or refurbishment requiring a Development Application.

Which lights can be upgraded under EEIS?

Each retailer is offering a small selection of common lights. These will not include specialty lights. Only working lighting equipment can be replaced under EEIS. Contact your electricity retailer for a full list of what is available.

Can businesses get multiple EEIS upgrades?

Businesses can get EEIS lighting upgrades more than once, either from the same retailer or from more than one retailer. This may happen if the retailers are offering different products or deals. However businesses cannot have the same light fittings upgraded twice under these government programs.

How much will I save?

Lighting upgrades will allow businesses to reduce their energy consumption, reduce lighting energy bills by up to 60% and improve the quality and lifespan of their light globes. Lighting makes up about half the total electricity bill for general retail outlets, 25% of the total bill for hairdressers and 14% for restaurants, so the cost savings generated by more efficient energy use can be substantial.

Installation questions

Can I select my own product?

Products for installation will generally be selected by the electricity retailer as they will need to comply with defined performance standards. For some activities, such as purchase of whitegoods or installation of water heaters you may be able to select from a range of complying products selected by the retailer.

Do I have to undertake all eligible activities offered or recommended by the retailer or installer or can I choose?

The scheme is optional. The recommendations made by the retailer or installer are to assist you to achieve greenhouse gas reductions, which may also lower your energy consumption and bills. You don’t have to agree to go ahead with all or any of the activities offered.

I already have energy efficient lighting and other energy efficient products installed in my business; can I get a refund on those items?

No, for products to be included in the EEIS they must have been installed by an authorised installer during the scheme and be recorded on an EEIS activity record form.

Can I install the products myself or get another person to install the product and get a rebate?

The majority of the eligible activities require an authorised installer to install the product on behalf of the retailer to ensure it is installed correctly and meets the scheme rules. Certain eligible activities, such as those that relate to the purchase of high efficiency appliances, do not require that a product is installed but must be purchased from an authorised seller who can confirm it is an eligible product.

Can I keep the old replaced products?

No, the old inefficient products, such as light globes and showerheads, must be removed so they cannot be used again for the activity to be deemed compliant under the EEIS. They must also be disposed of appropriately.

If I am not happy with what or how something has been installed will someone come back and change it?

The retailer must provide you with a contact number you can call if you are not happy with the product. The retailer must comply with consumer law and may replace a product if it is not working correctly or has been misrepresented.
You should contact your retailer first if you have concerns about a product that is installed in your home or business.

Why do I need to sign a form?

By signing the retailers form you are confirming that an activity has been undertaken and that the details on the form are true and correct to the best of your knowledge. This information may be collected by the Administrator of the EEIS to verify that the activity was undertaken in accordance with Scheme, health, safety, environment and other requirements.

Questions from electricity retailers

Which electricity retailers have an energy savings obligation?

All electricity retailers with an authorisation to sell electricity to ACT customers are obliged to contribute towards energy savings in the ACT. Their obligation is based on their electricity sales in the ACT. This is their Retailer Energy Savings Obligation. 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.
Even if a retailer’s sales in the ACT are zero, they will still need to provide an annual report to the Administrator including the relevant information.

Is it compulsory for electricity retailers to be involved?

The legislation providing for the EEIS (the Energy Efficiency (Cost of Living) Improvement Act 2012) places an obligation on all electricity retailers selling electricity to customers in the ACT. Large retailers in the ACT are not permitted to pay an energy savings contribution and must meet their obligations by undertaking eligible energy saving activities or acquiring abatement factors from other retailers who undertake eligible activities.
The Scheme provides an economic incentive for all retailers to undertake eligible activities.

How much will it cost retailers?

The total cost to each retailer will depend on their obligation under the EEIS and how they meet their obligation. Retailers may also offset costs with contributions arranged with consumers who wish to receive eligible activities.
Economic modelling for the Scheme indicated that it may cost a larger tier 1 retailer $116 per tonne of abatement that they are required to achieve from 2016-2020. Costs to retailers are also reflected in energy pricing. This cost is higher than from 2012-2015 because the proportion of greenhouse gas emissions is being reduced in the ACT electricity. Therefore more energy efficiency savings are needed for each additional tonne of greenhouse gas emissions reduced.

What is the Energy Savings Target?

The Energy Savings Target (EST) is the overall reduction in greenhouse gas emissions to be achieved by retailers. Retailers apply the target to their electricity sales to determine their obligation under the Scheme. The EST is set at 8.6% until 2020.
The EST reflects the total life-cycle energy savings of activities undertaken in a given year, not actual reductions in the first year that activity is implemented or each year a product is operating.
The target can be changed and will continue to be monitored for effectiveness in encouraging cost-effective energy efficiency activities. The Act requires 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.

Is the EEIS the same as the VEET, REES and ESS schemes?

The EEIS is modelled on existing schemes and adapted to address the specific conditions of the ACT including the cool climate and low levels of competition in the electricity retail market. Like the South Australian Scheme the EEIS is not based on creating and trading certificates.

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

No. The EEIS is not a certificate or permit based scheme. However, in April 2016 legislation was introduced approve interstate energy efficiency schemes, including the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target Scheme (VEET), New South Wales Energy Savings Scheme ( ESS ) and South Australian Retailer Energy Efficiency Scheme (REES). This approval means that EEIS can now include activities from other schemes as EEIS eligible activities. In practice, this would be achieved by approving specific inter-state activities and abatement arrangements under EEIS through the Energy Efficiency (Cost of Living) Improvement (Eligible Activities) Determination.

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.

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.

Will more activities be added to the list of eligible activities?

It is expected that new activities for both residential and business premises will be added to the EEIS during the life of the scheme.
In determining an eligible activity, the Minister must take into account the objects of the Act and the likelihood that the activity will contribute to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the ACT.
Before an activity is added, an abatement factor must be calculated for the activity and health, safety, environmental and consumer protection issues must be addressed in relevant codes of practice. Activities that can be safely and effectively included under the Scheme may be added.
The 2016 Stakeholder Forum Report includes a table of recommendations with timeframes for activity updates and additions.

Why did the Energy Savings Contribution and Shortfall Penalty between 2015 and 2016?

This increase reflects the decreasing emissions associated with saving electricity in the ACT, and the associated increase in the cost per tonne. This is balanced by decreased abatement targets.
The energy savings contribution is set based on the expected average cost of compliance per tonne of CO2-e for a Tier 1 retailer. The contribution for 2015 was $37 per tonne CO2-e. Based on the modelling for the new target scenario, the expected average cost of compliance for a Tier 1 retailer, is $116 per tonne CO2-e and so this is the Energy Savings Target for 2016. The increase reflects the increasing cost associated with achieving a tonne of abatement by saving electricity sourced from an increasing proportion of renewable energy. As a reference, the average cost of compliance for a Tier 1 retailer is $4.92 per MWh in 2015. It is modelled to be $4 per MWh in 2016 under the extended EEIS.
Under the modelled continuation of the EEIS at the targeted level of ambition, it is anticipated that the maximum cost a retailer would pay per tonne of CO2-e abated is $300/tonne. This increase reflects the decreasing emissions associated with saving electricity in the ACT, and the associated increase in the cost of achieving abatement.

How does the EEIS provide interstate opportunities?

The Energy Efficiency (Cost of Living) Improvement Act 2012 allows the Administrator to recognise abatement created in the ACT under recognised activities in ‘other-jurisdictional schemes’ such as those in NSW, Victoria and South Australia. Local requirements still apply, such as ACT electrical safety codes and regulations.

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.

Questions from product suppliers and installers

Is the EEIS a rebate scheme?

Retailers may offer rebates or other incentives for consumers to undertake activities but the EEIS is not a rebate scheme.

Who pays for the activities? Is everything free to consumers?

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.

Is the EEIS the same as the VEET, REES and ESS schemes?

The EEIS is modelled on existing schemes and adapted to address the specific conditions of the ACT including the cool climate and low levels of competition in the electricity retail market. Like the South Australian Scheme the EEIS is not based on creating and trading certificates.

What activities and products are available through the Scheme?

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.

Why isn’t insulation an eligible activity at the moment?

Insulation has not yet been included under the Scheme as there are a number of risks relating to the health and safety of householders and workers, and the safety of property that must be addressed before they can safely and effectively be included under the Scheme.
In the case of insulation, requirements that need to be finalised for undertaking this activity will include competency standards for installers, pre-installation checks, and installation practices, requirements for the disposal of removed materials and any other requirements associated with managing the documented risks of undertaking insulation activities post-construction.
The ACT is exploring the possibility of including insulation as an eligible activity in conjunction with other jurisdictions.

Who do I contact if I want a retailer to use my product?

You will need to contact the relevant retailers directly.

How do I become an installer?

An installer must be authorised to undertake activities by a retailer or a person contracted directly by the retailer. If you are not authorised any work you may do is not eligible under the Scheme.
Installers will need to undertake all necessary training before they undertake activities. Some activities will require a licensed person, including activities involving plumbing, gas fitting and electrical work.
Installers must also attend an EEIS induction course run by the Administrator. You must be associated with an electricity retailer to attend an induction course.
The ACT Government does not provide accreditation or endorsements of installers or installation businesses. You should contact the electricity retailer you would like to work on behalf of if you are interested in becoming an installer.