The case for electrification has been made many times for both environmental and consumer-focused reasons. In a recent submission to the Senate Economics References Committee Inquiry into Residential Electrification, Energy Consumers Australia (ECA) has called for mandatory disclosures on gas appliances of the economic risk of purchasing a new gas appliance and for a national electrification plan as concerns continue that consumers who are unable to make the transition will face spiralling prices.
In a media release on the issue Dr Brendan French, newly appointed CEO of ECA, had this to say:
“Our latest national consumer data shows an uptick in those planning to electrify from 16% in 2021 to 22% today,” said Dr French.
“There are clear benefits for consumers from getting off gas. Modelling we commissioned from CSIRO shows going all-electric and swapping to an electric vehicle could cut the average household’s energy bills by $2,250 a year by 2030. That’s without solar panels and a battery, which lift the saving to $3,500.
“While this is great news for many consumers, people who face barriers to going all-electric could be left behind and unable to access those savings. Governments must make sure those who can least afford to make the switch don’t end up shackled to a fossil fuel gas network that becomes more and more costly for fewer and fewer people.
“Victoria and the ACT have already announced gas bans for new homes, and that now needs to be adopted by all States and territories. Consumers and industry deserve certainty.
“We need all three levels of government to come together and develop a national plan for households to go all-electric that provides the information, funding and support people need, and identifies the policy changes that will ensure no one is left behind.”
“Some consumers will face greater barriers than others, including low-income households, renters and people who live in apartments.
“We often forget that only 52% of Australian households are owner-occupied, stand-alone homes while the other half must negotiate home upgrades with other tenants and landlords.
“It can be even tougher for people in social housing, so we also need to expand support for home and social housing upgrades under the Household Energy Upgrades Fund.”‘End gas connections and help consumers save $2,250 a year’, Energy Consumers Australia, 4/10/2023, https://energyconsumersaustralia.com.au/news/end-gas-connections-and-help-consumers-save.
For those in apartments and other dwellings that are part of a strata or owners corporation the Owners Corporation Network (OCN), a not-for-profit organisation to help strata owners, also recommended in a submission to the Inquiry 15 items including: that the strata sector should have emissions targets, that the strata or strata owners should have access to grants or loans to transition, the prohibition of gas connections in new or mixed-use buildings, strategies to enable strata-specific transition, and that strata laws be reformed to enable sustainability infrastructure upgrades.
The benefits of transitioning from gas to fully electrified households is clear, but also apparent are the inherent challenges to electrification and the necessity of getting it right.