Energy is an essential service for all Victorian households. Its consumption is also a cause of greenhouse gas emissions that lead to climate change and its adverse effects.
The Victorian Energy Efficiency Target (VEET) scheme is designed to make energy efficiency improvements more affordable, help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and encourage investment, employment and innovation in industries that supply energy-efficient goods and services.
VCOSS supports this scheme as a measure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help prevent the adverse effects of climate change on all Victorians, particularly low-income Victorians.
On coming to office, the Andrews Government committed to guarantee the VEET scheme’s immediate future and to review its target.
VCOSS’ submission to the VEET review recognised the VEET scheme’s primary objective is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change, and that this will assist disadvantaged people in Victoria. Extreme weather events (such as heatwaves) have a disproportionate impact on low-income households. Modelling suggests that climate change is likely to increase the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events. Climate change will affect low-income households, which are least able to adapt their homes to increased temperatures and weather variability.
Our submission also recognised that energy efficiency has other benefits for low-income households. These include helping them adapt to the adverse effects of climate change, as well as helping reduce the fuel poverty and energy affordability pressures they face.
A low-income energy efficiency program of sufficient scale that complements and works with the VEET scheme is needed in addition to other measures that could be taken within VEET to help low-income households improve their energy efficiency. These are outlined in our submission, along with other additional activities that could be included in VEET to improve its operation.
The Victorian government can support low-income households to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change, mitigate its causes, and ease the fuel poverty and energy affordability pressures they face, through both the VEET scheme and other measures. As well as being outlined in the VCOSS submission to the VEET review, these are also outlined in VCOSS’ submission to the Inquiry into the Hardship Programs of Energy Retailers. This submission also puts forward what we believe is the optimal energy efficiency policy for Victoria: a substantial publicly funded program that would complement VEET and assist low-income households improve their energy efficiency.
VCOSS looks forward to further discussions through the VEET review and the Inquiry into the Hardship Programs of Energy Retailers, as great opportunities to achieve positive outcomes for people facing disadvantage in Victoria.