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Media release

$2M energy grant an investment in innovation for energy consumers

Energy Consumers Australia welcomed an announcement by the COAG Energy Council today that it will receive a $2 million grant over three years to improve energy efficiency in low income households.

Last week’s meeting of Energy Ministers committed to respond to the paradigm shift occurring in energy markets with measures that maintain consumer confidence and reliable, affordable, sustainable energy markets.

Energy Consumers Australia CEO Rosemary Sinclair said the grant will be used to translate outcomes from the Low Income Energy Efficiency Program (LIEEP) into practical benefits for energy consumers in these changing markets, particularly low-income households.

“We will review the findings from LIEEP, which trialled a range of approaches to improve the energy efficiency of low income households and enable them to better manage their energy use,” Ms Sinclair said. “For low income households, their budgets may be stretched and choices more difficult because of the age and inefficiency of appliances and poor insulation in their homes.”

Ms Sinclair said the grant announced by Minister Frydenberg is a substantial investment in innovation that will help clear the way for all consumers to engage more confidently in an increasingly complex energy market, to get the best value service.

“Giving consumers the right tools and advice puts them in a much stronger position to choose the energy services that are the best fit for their household. Given what it takes to sort through the myriad of electricity and gas tariffs and energy saving options, making the best decision is far from easy for energy consumers.”

“The LIEEP insights will be shared with stakeholders, including consumer advocates, industry and researchers as part of developing best practice guidelines and tools to empower energy consumers.”

“Consumers are concerned about energy prices, so we welcome the focus on putting tools in their hands to help them manage their costs as we transition to a cleaner economy.”

This work is being undertaken in keeping with ECA’s role to promote the long-term interests of consumers by providing and enabling strong, coordinated, collegiate and evidence based advocacy.

Kerry Connors, ECA’s Associate Director, Research, will manage the LIEEP work program. (Email Kerry)

LIEEP funded 20 trials of innovative approaches to delivering services across a variety of vulnerable consumer groups, including

  • supporting and empowering community champions in remote indigenous communities;
  • developing smart apps for young people moving out of home and facing their first electricity bills; and
  • providing tailored information to people with disabilities, as well as older Australians, to help them take control of their energy bills.