Cutting the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target (VEET) will make power bills more expensive and increase costs for taxpayers, the Clean Energy Council said today.

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive David Green said the Victorian Government’s liability under its concession payments program to vulnerable households would rise as a result of cutting the VEET program – meaning millions of dollars in higher costs for taxpayers.

“According to the Brotherhood of St Laurence, those in disadvantaged areas have used the scheme more than people living in more affluent ones,” Mr Green said.

“A large proportion of these lower income households that have taken advantage of the VEET scheme receive concession payments from the Victorian Government to help them pay their power bills. Our analysis shows that the VEET program has saved the government about $3 million per year in concession payments by helping to make Victorians more energy efficient.

“The additional cost to taxpayers from cutting this program could run into millions of dollars over the next few years. VEET has also helped more than 100 new and innovative small businesses to start up and prosper, supporting more than 2000 jobs – and these bright lights will dim as a result of this move.

“It would be better to change the scheme to ensure it is even more well targeted at low income households than to remove a program that has been very successful,” he said. 

Mr Green said it was bad for consumers to be cutting one of the few programs that could help households save on their energy bills at the same time that Victoria’s gas prices were about to go into overdrive.

“The rising cost of electricity prices has been big news for the last five years, and all the indications are that gas prices are now starting to follow suit,” Mr Green said.

“This energy efficiency program has helped more than 1.3 million households save money on their energy bills. Helping people to use their energy more efficiently will be critical this decade as we see more people struggling to make ends meet because of more expensive electricity and gas.

“The solar hot water industry has also been repeatedly undermined by government decisions to reduce support, locking households into increasingly high-cost gas systems and putting at risk local manufacturing such as the more than 100 workers at Rheem's Victorian plant.”

Please contact Clean Energy Council Media Manager Mark Bretherton on 0413 556 981 for more information or to arrange an interview.