Voters want governments to prioritise energy efficiency

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Australians want governments to do more to support energy efficiency to help cut energy bills.

As Energy Ministers prepare to meet to discuss the National Energy Guarantee on Friday, YourLifeChoices research suggests that one of the biggest issues for retirees living within their means was spiralling energy costs.

YourLifeChoices received 5064 responses to 33 questions in our Retirement Income and Financial Literacy Survey and 18 per cent of respondents named energy costs as their number one challenge, second only to health insurance in terms of challenges.

This research is supported by a recent YouGov Galaxy survey of 1000 Australians that showed ‘investing in energy efficiency’ is the most popular policy that governments can introduce.

The YouGov survey found that 90 per cent of voters think that it is important or very important that governments help reduce household energy bills, with energy efficiency the most popular policy option.

Australian Council for Social Services Chief Executive Cassandra Goldie said the move to energy efficiency was particularly important for those on fixed incomes.

“Efforts to improve energy efficiency for low-income and disadvantaged households can mean that people on low incomes are not forced to choose between putting food on the table or heating their homes in the coming winter months,” Ms Goldie said.

“Upgrading an existing home from the equivalent of two stars to five stars can save a household $600 a year.

“Mandating energy efficient standards for rental properties and investing in energy efficiency measures for low-income households, will make a huge difference to energy stress, health and wellbeing.”

According to Property Council of Australia (PCA) Chief Executive Ken Morrison, governments are too preoccupied with increasing the supply of power.

“This is a wake-up call for Governments to move beyond the supply side of the energy debate,” Mr Morrison said.

“With the National Energy Guarantee now on the table, attention must also be given to driving down demand – because the cheapest energy is energy we don’t use.

“This survey shows the community recognises the benefits of energy efficiency and strongly supports common sense action to reduce their bills.”

What do you think? Would you like to see the Government do more to address energy efficiency? Should rental properties meet mandated efficiency standards?

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Written by Ben

50 Comments

Total Comments: 50
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    Great efficiency would be gained by reverting to a ‘one roof’ system, without all the leches hanging on as ‘board members’, ‘executives’ and shareholders that are inherent in the current distribution system. Anyone with one brain cell would realise instantly that even if you could compare boards and such to senior executives in a Public system – you are still liable for a payout on top to shareholders.

    there are NO gains to the end user from ‘private enterprise’ running areas such as this, where they operate as a cartel under the aegis of the same ‘government’ that sold out to them which approves prices – and which by remaining a shareholder – then ‘needs’ to ensure its own return on its ‘investment’, and therefore this ‘government’ then assists in a perpetual upward cost spiral.

    A series of thefts of public resources and perpetual theft of public’s personal funds to feed a group of insiders. Third World El Presidente at his best….

    Privatisation is a failure in any public utility arena due to the reality of the public as end user being a captive audience with little to no alternatives, and hostage to a government that is a major player in the ‘business’ as well, and which has divested itself of any responsibility for that failure to provide greater efficiency – and all other failures of the system. Craven thieves and liars all. (and that’s just me being nice)…

    In terms of the actual generation of power – I am somewhat conflicted between nuclear and ‘free’ alternative energies…… some have pointed out that Australia is a very stable continent (you may not believe so from the social disruptions going on, but that a little different) and is thus a safe place to install nuclear and that the bad old days of the Chernobyls and Three Mile Islands are gone….thre is also argument over the short term ‘set up’ costs of alternative power such as wind and sun (and rain if you include hydro) – and the reality that most such sources are good for 20-25 years and then in need of replacement/refurbishment. On hydro, there is room for diverting major streams a la snowy back towards Western NSW (etc), and thus generating (sic) a further source of hydro generation… certainly the equipment is available for tunnel etc building now that is much faster than the good old Snowy days of driving a hole and laying a charge… and a bit less deadly to workers. Such a series of schemes would set in place some GENUINE infrastructure (though we need to explore infrastructure, since I extend it into areas of ’employment infrastructure’ etc and not just physical – that’s why I’m the professor), and would create an opportunity for something I’ve mooted before – prospective immigrants and refugees working on these projects during their vetting and ‘probationary’ periods, and thus learning a skill and trade that they can use anywhere while earning and contributing to this nation, thus earning citizenship.

    Unlike Adolph and Uncle Joe – I’m not talking about slave labour here… jeez – we could even put some of those recalcitrant Aboriginals to work there and let them earn their freedom from their feelings of being oppressed through work…(snuckles)… coupla girls to bring around the water bucket etc..(just joking)…. employ some of those recent LOCAL graduates who are missing out on a job… be a lot better than fracking fracking which employs 25 in the building phase and then 2 in the maintenance phase, or mining that employs 2000 in the building phase and then 165 in the operation phase… no real value there.

    Build for Australia! There’s a three-liner Tony could grab… (cheesy grin emoticon implied)…

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      Yes, Trebor reads sensibly to me; I add my own bit; why not block off the excess water from the North that flows into the sea. Block with dams and Hydro Power Stn’s The outflow diverted into Pipelines to deliver water to the lower states that have droughts? Pipeline pumps could use solar power to operate them. (environmental pundits!!!! balls)

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      One idea was to open up the Lake Eyre basin to the sea through South Australia…. interesting. If a system of locks was installed, water flow downwards (fresh) could be caught…and a whole different environment created inland – the Great Inland Sea… (hmmm)..

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      I was with you for a while there Trebor until you starting waffling on about nuclear which is an environmental disaster in the making as Germany have closed all their nuclear plants for this reason and France is following as well. I’ll leave the diversion of inland rivers alone as it’s been discredited over time as a nutter’s dream. But you cracked the nut with your plan to empty Lake Eyre to the sea, which would be difficult when it is actually below sea level and dry 3 out of 4 years – ever been there?

      Anyway, maybe I missed the joke in all of that but I do suggest you walk carefully around jokes about indigenous work as it’s a travesty in this country at the manner in which the first Australians are treated in work requirements for meagre Centrelink benefits. You may have been joking, but the real on ground situation for these folk is no joke.

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      As you raised the issue regards indigenous peoples maelcolium, you may be interested to check some online facts; one such: -Commonwealth of Australia Indigenous specific Expenditure Report, 1968 – 2012, disclosed the indigenous population of 2.6%. It further reported an estimated spend per head amounting to $44K. This compared to the remainder of the population of $19.5K/head – a ratio of 2.25:1. No joke.

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      Dear Mael – I don’t ‘waffle’ – I said I was conflicted over nuclear and start-up costs re ‘alternatives.. and I said OPEN the Lake Eyre Basin to the sea – DUH.

      As for the idea of other rivers being partially diverted inland…. that’s still a viable card with emerging technologies.

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      And son – I’m not joking about the ideas of putting immigrants and refugees and Aboriginals on a contract of self-improvement or bust. No improvement via education or work… all you get is the dole, and if you are of a criminal bent – all you get is gaol or sent offshore.

      The French had a good idea with Devil’s Island while retaining your citizenship….

      Perpetually giving to Aboriginals in response to failures – largely on their part – to resolve the fracturing issues within their ‘culture’ – will not materially assist them in any way, and nor will it lead to any meaningful change in those basis problems.

      Of course – first we need to re-open the TAFEs and such and actually find some jobs for all… and ensure that Aboriginals are treated equally when jobs are being handed around…. but they simply must abide by the rules of work as well.

      Don’t lecture me…. while I am sympathetic to much of what are Aboriginal problems, I do not see that pussy-footing around the issues will help – and FYI I DID suggest that they get jobs on the infrastructure projects.

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    Agree with most of what Trebor says.
    Also in regard to the electricity industry. To get the electricity to the users property, you need these important basic works. That is generation, transmission and control. These days there are lots (100s) of retail companies and multiple generation cos. all with their Boards of Directors, CEOs, CxOs, upper managements, admin depts., I.T. depts., sales forces, call centres, marketing, advertising etc. Adds a lot of unnecessary cost.

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      TREBOR to be our Energy Minister in the future Govt. Whatever party in power. He has some good ideas.

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      I’m too shy and really – not up to uttering public inanities, let alone deluding myself that standing up in Parliament and rubbishing ‘the other side’ is all that makes up my huge salary and perks job.

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      Agree massive costs by many companies with high paid CEOs etc is a major outcome of privatisation e.g. Vesey of AGL should have his visa revoked as he is planning to shut down Liddell, then AGL could also reduce their prices just from that massive saving of his excessive salary!

      This country has ample supply of all the essential resources – Coal, Sun, Wind, Uranium, even hydro in some areas – only way to have power shortage is by having the BIGGEST DUDS RUNNING THIS COUNTRY!
      Also, forget about new buzz words such as “energy efficiency” to divert people’s attention, and just produce enough electricity for our small population of just 25 Million people – not hard!

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    All Public Utilities should be run by the government. They should not not be run by private enterprise just so pollies mates and fat cats can make money and rip off the ordinary people.

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      That’s exactly what the pollies do, privatise to keep government staff low to line their own pockets! It’s about time they found REAL jobs and sacrifice some things they get for free!

      Energy Australia is owned/run by the Chinese? I changed my energy provider. Enough is enough!

  4. 0
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    Save $600 a year? My power doesn’t even cost that much a year.

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      We know, Ebergeezer – you’re always in front of that eight ball… thanks for coming.

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      The rest of us who shower daily, and wash our clothes regularly can’t compete!

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      Why not? All it takes is a change of mindset on how you do things.

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      My partner and I both shower daily – long showers. We are anal about regular clothes washing. We watch TV until late at night have at least 2 computers and a printer running 16 hours a day, use the oven four times weekly for extended periods, and we do NOTHING to minimise power bills, yet we spend an average of $120 a year on electricity. Yes, we have solar.

      A family member lives in an army house with a disabled child who can’t regulate temperature. The house is not insulated. It has 0 energy efficient qualities. By RTA standards, it’s not even legally inhabitable, but those rules don’t apply to military! Electricity bill averages $600 quarter, though it’s lower right now because the air con is broken and they have survived a sweltering summer, with a sick child, in a sweat-box that isn’t even legally habitable, with the army refusing to fix the air con because ”it’s old and the repair cost is too high”.

      I helped this family reduce their power bill by selling a second fridge and setting up an Engel on the veranda and a portable solar system running the Engel, TV, computer, CD player, and a other few minor appliances.

      My point is that solar is efficient and easy, but clearly the government isn’t even sufficient responsible to allocate habitable homes to our serving members! (Yes, I’ve written to the Minister about it. No reply! Are you shocked? I was!)

      Why isn’t solar on EVERY home. At very least, it should be on every home occupied by serving military. No excuse for any home owner not to install it. The government could easily legislate that all landlords are required to install it. It’s NOT all that expensive now and there are plenty of payment plans available that let you pay it off with the savings. Problem largely solved – except for the issue of commercial interests (the rip-off power companies) losing profit. So it’s really just a question of whether the commercial interests are more important than national well-being, isn’t it? But the story of our military family with a sick child clearly illustrates that national well-being is of no importance.

  5. 0
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    The only answer to lower power prices is to take back the power companies, private enterprise in enegy does not work, they only think of profits and their shareholders, when has a private power company ever given any thought to the people who purchase their power?
    the govt. that sold out reap a small short term benefit then have to look elsewhere for funds, Tas. is still owned by the people so the power prices are cheaper,stands to reason doesnt it…

  6. 0
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    I have read and reread this article and I am still a tad confused. Respondents want cheaper electricity and then the article rabbits on about energy efficiency. I don’t equate the two. Sure, there is efficiency around the home such as turning off lights if nobody is in the room, unplugging TV’s and other items that are on “stand by” and only using heating and cooling equipment when needed but I believe that those who want cheaper electricity mean a lower tariff, not efficiency.

    It is a simple truth that if a popular item is in short supply then the price rises. In recent times, South Australia blew up its only power station and Victoria raised the price of coal to the privately owned Hazelwood power station that forced a closure. Hazelwood supplied 25% of Victoria’s power as well as a back-up for South Australia. I believe that this has caused a short supply scenario and an inevitable rise in tariffs.

    Major political parties in Australia require the support of the Greens and their preferences and because of this they will pander to the loony left which wants to close all power station which are coal fired, close coal mines and rely on wind, solar and hydro. We need a government to stand up to the Greens and commission at least two new power stations to replace those which have been closed as well as plan ahead for those power stations reaching their use by date. Slightly off topic but the Greens want legalisation of marijuana and, ironically, their leader is a medical doctor who should know all of the problems with this gateway drug.

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      They want both cheap power and to be able to use less. All I’ll say is turn the lights off then. Turn your hot water off and boil the kettle instead so you are not heating up 200, 300 or 400 litres of water. Mine is turned off. I turn light switch off at switchboard every morning so people don’t leave lights on.

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      Building new coal fired power stations is the best way to raise rather than lower prices. Each station would cost $3 or more billion dollars and take maybe 8 years to come on stream at which time it will be a complete white elephant because solar power prices in particular continue to free-fall. Solar generation prices are likely to be 30% lower than coal fired prices even without possible dramatic improvements in panel efficiency. Fusion power is still a possibility too. Commercial interests have absolutely NO interest in investing in new coal fired power because it is a dead duck, and putting taxpayer dollars into said duck would be crazy.

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      The cost of solar may well come down, Bellbird, but that doesn’t help unless there is a reliable backup for when there is insufficient solar available and unless I’m mistaken it happens every day when the sun goes down. As yet there is no viable battery storage available and whilst renewables may well be the way to go, there is a lot to be done before it can replace coal fired power stations.

      Incidentally, apart from nuclear power, coal fired power stations are the cheapest way to go. Both India and China are building coal fired power stations at a great rate and both those countries have heard of renewables yet choose to go with coal. I’d be interested in the way that your calculations show that building a new, or replacement, coal fired power station will cause price rises.

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      If we all turned everything off when the sun went down and back on when the sun came up renewable energy would be great but unfortunately very few do. So we have to rely on the solar energy of decades ago (fossil fuels) to help us out after dark.

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      Well – all around Lake George there are all these big windmills…. they catch all the wind from Parliament House and turn it into something useful for the people…. power.

    • 0
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      I rely on solar power and I don’t turn anything off when the sun goes down. When caravanning, we put ice blocks in the fridge at night and switch it off. That makes sense, as it conserves battery power, which is limited. But we still use the lights and the computers and TV after dark.

      At home, we live normally both day and night because we can draw mains power when needed. The feed-in during the day offsets the cost. I believe that very soon battery technology will evolve to where we can disconnect from the grid completely. We could now if I was willing to change my lifestyle and not use an electric oven and electric heaters at night!

      I don’t understand why it’s so difficult. Install solar on every home nationwide and the problem is largely solved. Businesses are installing solar. Our Aldi store has massive arrays of panels on the roof, as does the local aged care home.

      In the US, they are now installing solar roofs on new homes, and in Europe solar windows have become very popular. I think the problem is not how to generate power but merely appeasing commercial interests whose profits would be reduced by doing what is easy, sensible, and would yield outstanding results. No, it’s NOT a complete solution. Heavy industry can’t run on solar. But we could make a major advance to solving problems with relatively little investment and inconvenience.

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      It actually doesn’t make sense to put solar on every home unless the energy can be stored. I generate well over twice what I use so it has to go somewhere and where can it go if everyone else is doing the same. People are now getting their solar installations knocked back because there is already enough solar being generated in their area. So until we can store it then everyone will not be allowed to install solar.

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      We actually CAN store solar now, though more efficient storage is desirable. But we store it in our caravan batteries and we worked out that if we put a bank of 8 in the garage we would be self-sufficient and it would be cost effective. The batteries we use in the caravan will last long enough, if properly maintained, to be quite economical. It won’t be long, though, before we have far better storage solutions. In the meantime, even in affluent suburbs there are plenty of houses without solar, and very few households actually generate more than they use.

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      We generate about twice what we can use which seems such a waste as it’s not available if the sun isn’t shining.

      Been reading IPART submission and it looks like the feed in terrif in NSW is going to be decreased for the next financial year so it’s going cost many people with solar more for their power.

  7. 0
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    I would like this Government to actually address progressive policy in general and not just energy policy which is entering the realm of ridiculous with the pending NEG chinwag coming at COAG. Renewables are romping ahead and these guys are still playing around with fossil energy despite the environmental damage inflicted on the globe.

    The reason these twerps will lose Government is their failure won’t be energy, but their inability to construct real policy rather than the ideological claptrap put forward by a PM bowing to the conservative lobby for the sake of hanging onto his job.

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      Perfectly true…..

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      Mr expert – how much environmental damage is being done by Australia’s coal fired power station emissions? Bet you don’t have a clue on this! Did you, or any reader of YLC understand, that the methane emissions from the globe’s bovine population significantly exceed the greenhouse gases produced by ALL the coal fired power stations globally? Next time you tuck into a T-bone, bear that in mind!

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      …. and volcano eruptions put far more into the atmosphere.

      That was not what he was talking about, Big Al – he was talking about the advance of ‘renewables’ and the lack of interest from ‘our’ government.

      Why persists with arguments that coal fireds ONLY produce x% – when the renewables produce a lot less?

      Now I’m not advocating one way or the other – but let’s keep it within the bounds of the discussion.

  8. 0
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    While ever we have the power industry in the hands of private enterprise the cost of energy must go up.The Libs can jump up and down all they like nothing can change.TREBOR you have summed up the whole problem,a great comment.

  9. 0
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    well – some stupid voters and governments have closed down coal fired plants havent they
    you reap what you sow
    idiots who only want expensive unreliable renewable
    how about nuclear mixed in with coal and a splash of greenie initiatives for good measure.
    You never put all your personal investments in one basket, same should apply to energy security

    • 0
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      Expensive in the start-up phase, like any industry or business – over time the unit cost comes down with increasing input and economies of scale…. the problem is that those installing and operating these things are working on a short term profit to please their shareholders etc, rather than a long term business plan that averages out cost over – say – twenty years.

      The problem there for the consumer at the end is that once prices go up, they never come down – as OG pointed out above with the wholesale price of power having come down, but not the retail price.

      It’s called ‘smash and grab’ management – is always was one clear reason NOT to allow the system to go ‘private’.

  10. 0
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    generation 5 nuclear power stations, small, take 2/3 years to build by South Koreans.

    Neil.

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      Have you seen the map of the proposed sites on the eastern seaboard? The Greens and Labor are certainly stirring up trouble around here about a nuclear power station.

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      Nuclears need water for cooling…. so while the Inland seems preferable, the water supply is not there in the majority of it (until we open up Lake Eyre to the sea)…. On the other hand, many have said why not use the endless open spaces with nothing but cattle to generate solar and wind? The solar panels would make great shade for the cattle….

    • 0
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      “cattle to generate solar and wind” ? (and) “make great shade for the cattle”. Sure sounds like a lotta wind to me… methane perhaps, all those ruminants farting/burping ?
      Of course the area could be covered by a huge plastic dome and the gas converted to power, but transmission costs from “endless open spaces” at something in the order of <> $500K/klm (depending on capacity) would seem to suggest a corresponding increase to our consumption costs.

    • 0
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      The cows are already there – no harm in giving them a little shade wile producing megawatts….

      The open spaces are used to generate power – not the cattle… a little portapak compressor on the back of each one catching and compressing its gas outfall would help… syphon it all out at milking or herding time.

      Space Cows!

    • 0
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      Sell if to the Furruners – oh, yes – the very finest LPG ….

      Truck comes in once a day or week and empties the tank at the cattle station… maybe back to the power station and connect up to empty….

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