Frequently Asked Questions about the EEIS
- What is the Energy Efficiency Improvement Scheme (EEIS)?
- How many households and businesses have participated in the EEIS?
- How does the EEIS work
- How long will the EEIS be extended for?
- What are key aims of the extension?
- What are the eligible activities available under the EEIS?
- What products are available through the EEIS?
- Can I get EEIS activities from any electricity retailer in the ACT?
- What discounts are currently available under EEIS?
- Can new activities be added?
- Have the EEIS addressed risks and safety issues related with insulation installation?
- How can low income households benefit from EEIS? Is there a higher discount available?
- What do I need to do to access discounts under EEIS?
- What if I’m not eligible or the EEIS activities aren’t appropriate to me?
- Who currently offers discounts under EEIS?
- How can my business get involved and start delivering activities?
- What are the benefits of replacing my gas heater with a high-efficiency electric heater?
What is the Energy Efficiency Improvement Scheme (EEIS)?
The EEIS is a legislated scheme in the ACT which requires electricity retailers to achieve energy savings in households and businesses.
The objects of the EEIS are to:
- encourage the efficient use of energy; and
- reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with stationary energy use in the Territory; and
- reduce household and business energy use and costs; and
- increase opportunities for priority households to reduce energy use and costs.
These objects are defined in the Energy Efficiency (Cost of Living) Improvement Act 2012 (the Act). More information on the Act and other EEIS legislation can be found by visiting our legislation page.
The Legislative Assembly is currently considering legislation that would remove the word “stationary” from the second dot point to allow consideration of activities that reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport energy use.
How many households and businesses have participated in the EEIS?
From scheme commencement in 2013 until mid-2019, around 74,000 households and businesses have participated in the Scheme, including close to 19,000 priority low income households.
Over 1.3 million energy saving items have been installed, delivering more than 6.5 million Gigajoules of lifetime energy savings, about $400 million of lifetime energy bill savings and is estimated to achieve lifetime emission reductions of around 500,000 tCO2-e, equivalent to taking approximately 165,000 cars off Canberra roads for a year.
How does the EEIS work?
The EEIS works by requiring all electricity retailers in the ACT to meet a Retailer Energy Savings Obligation which is set as a portion of the retailer’s electricity sales.
To meet their obligation, larger retailers (called Tier 1 retailers) must deliver eligible energy saving activities to consumers. Because of this obligation, retailers offer discounts or free products to consumers who receive activities.
Smaller retailers (called Tier 2 retailers) can choose to deliver activities or pay a contribution to the ACT Government. Contributions must be spent on programs that align with the objects of the scheme, such scheme administration and as climate change actions to improve energy efficiency, reduce emissions and energy bills of households and businesses.
How long will the EEIS be extended for?
The Legislative Assembly is considering legislation that would extend the EEIS for another 10 years, from 2021 to the end of 2030.
What are key aims of the extension?
The renewed scheme will align with the ACT’s move to 100% renewable electricity from 2020 and also provide increased opportunities for low income households who are least able to afford upgrades to more energy efficient appliances in their homes.
The extension will also enable the Government to explore innovative initiatives in the transport sector in the future, such as incentives for zero emissions vehicles.
What are the eligible activities available under the EEIS?
There are over 20 eligible activities under the EEIS including energy efficient lighting, draught sealing, heating, cooling, hot water and other appliance upgrades.
It is important to note however, that not all available activities will be offered to the public at any given time. It is up to electricity retailers to select the activities they wish to deliver and the most cost-effective way to do so.
The ACT Government is continuously reviewing the eligible activities and, where appropriate, additional activities may be added to the scheme.
A list of all EEIS eligible activities can be found by visiting our activities page.
What products are available through the EEIS?
The EEIS requires that all products be on an approved product register. Current approved registers include those maintained by the Victorian Energy Upgrades (VEU) program, The NSW Energy Savings Solutions (ESS) program and the Greenhouse and Energy Minimum Standards (GEMS).
Retailers are free to deliver activities using any product provided it is listed on an approved register. This however, does NOT mean that retailers must or will offer all products and generally only a small range is on offer.
To get the latest information on available activities, products and discounts it is always best to contact the retailers that are delivering activities. At present ActewAGL are the only local retailer offering eligible activities to consumers.
More information can be found by visiting the ActewAGL website.
Can I get EEIS activities from any electricity retailer in the ACT?
ActewAGL is the only Tier 1 retailer in the ACT which is obligated to deliver eligible activities under the scheme. The EEIS allows for smaller tier 2 retailers to pay an Energy Savings Contribution (ESC) in place of delivering activities.
Currently all Tier 2 retailers choose to pay the contribution and are not delivering activities. Tier 2 retailers can choose to deliver activities at any time provided they follow the requirements of the scheme.
What discounts are currently available under EEIS?
ActewAGL is currently offering discounts to replace poor performing gas heaters and hot water units with high efficiency systems such as electric heat pumps. Free removal and disposal of old fridges and lighting upgrades to businesses are also currently available under the scheme.
To get the latest information on available activities, products and discounts it is always best to contact the retailers that are delivering activities. At present ActewAGL are the only local retailer offering eligible activities to consumers. More information can be found by visiting the ActewAGL website.
Can new activities be added?
The ACT Government consults stakeholders and adds new activities to the scheme on a regular basis, but it is up to electricity retailers to select the activities they wish to deliver.
New residential ceiling and under-floor insulation, business heating and demand response activities were included as eligible activities under EEIS in August 2019.
A list of all EEIS eligible activities can be found by visiting our activities page.
Have the EEIS addressed risks and safety issues related with insulation installation?
There has been extensive stakeholder consultation over the past two years, including with industry experts, Worksafe ACT and other jurisdictions. Safety recommendations from the Home Insulation Program Royal Commission Reports were incorporated and an independent Risk Management Report was commissioned.
To ensure insulation activities are delivered safely, recommended risk treatments were incorporated into the codes of practice for insulation activities and include:
- No foil products are allowed;
- Accreditation and training of installers;
- Turning off the power to the home before the installation;
- Pre-installation inspections by a licenced electrician;
- A percentage of households receiving post installation audits by an independent auditor;
- Must be delivered by experienced, reputable, licenced electricians, and qualified accredited insulation installers.
How can low income households benefit from EEIS? Is there a higher discount available?
Under the EEIS, Tier 1 electricity retailers need to ensure a percentage of savings occur in low-income or priority households. The EEIS Priority Household Target (PHT) has been increased to 30% from 2020 (formally 20%). This will create even more opportunities for low income households to benefit from energy efficiency.
Since 2013, 19,000 low income priority households have accessed discounts under the scheme. Additional discounts are offered to eligible priority households so be sure to check your priority household eligibility.
What do I need to do to access discounts under EEIS?
Discounts under the EEIS are provided directly by the retailer at the time the activity is delivered and do NOT come from the ACT Government.
To access discounts, you will need to contact a retailer that is delivering activities. Currently this is only ActewAGL and all of the required information regarding activities, discounts, eligibility and the steps required can be found by visiting the ActewAGL website.
Before getting an energy efficiency upgrade through the EEIS, please shop around to ensure the upgrade is the best option in your circumstances and be sure to check your priority household eligibility.
What if I’m not eligible or the EEIS activities aren’t appropriate to me?
The EEIS connects with the ACT Government’s Actsmart programs which offers a range of initiatives and advice services to reduce emissions, energy bills, water and waste. They can also provide free expert advice to all ACT residents and businesses.
More information on the range of Actsmart programs and all of the services available to households and businesses can be found by visiting the Actsmart website.
Who currently offers discounts under EEIS?
ActewAGL needs to use approved contractors that meet the scheme’s quality and safety requirements and whose installers have undertaken EEIS induction training. At the moment, the approved retailers (approved contractors) listed on ActewAGL’s website are the only ones offering EEIS discounts.
How can my business get involved and start delivering activities?
The first is to be contracted by an electricity retailer to deliver activities. ActewAGL is the only electricity retailer currently delivering activities through the EEIS and they run open tender processes for new service providers to deliver activities under the EEIS. An interested business can register to get notified about future open tender processes on the TenderLink website.
The second option is to become an Approved Abatement Provider (AAP) by applying to the EEIS Administrator. With this approach, the AAP is directly accountable and takes on the responsibilities that are usually shouldered by the electricity retailer. Additionally, an AAP needs to ensure there is a market to sell the value of any energy savings it delivers. The responsibilities of an AAP include complying with relevant legislation, detailed reporting to the ACT Government and undergoing independent audits.
Before considering whether to apply to become an AAP, we recommend contacting the EEIS who will be able to provide more details on operating as an AAP under the scheme.
What are the benefits of replacing my gas heater with a high-efficiency electric heater?
Upgrading from gas to efficient electric reverse cycle air conditioners can reduce your energy bills as well as improve thermal comfort of your home in summer and winter. This can lead to improved physical and mental wellbeing for its residents.
In a recent survey of EEIS participants, 76% of those receiving heater upgrades believed their houses were substantially more comfortable.
49% of participants reported improved physical or mental health, including reported improvements to asthma, arthritis, joint and muscle pain, fewer sick days and hospital admissions.
For more information please contact the EEIS team by emailing EPD-EEIS@act.gov.au