How South Australians can get energy efficient

If you live in South Australia, there is an government initiative that can help you reduce your energy usage which could lower your electricity prices.

The Residential energy efficiency scheme (REES) means that large power companies must help households to save power by offering consumers energy audits and other activities to reduce greenhouse gases.

Large power companies are defined as those with more than 5,000 customers. The scheme is administered by the Essential Services Commission of South Australia.

However, the Minister for Mineral Resources and Energy is responsible for setting the overall policy framework which sets out obligations for retailers to follow.

Power companies are given targets under REES which they must achieve by the end of each year. The scheme is currently in phase two and will finish up at the end of 2014.

Low income households will be placed in a 'priority' group and will benefit from free energy audits to look at how households are using energy. This way the experts can see if changes can be made to decrease usage and lower energy bills.

All South Australian households will have access to energy efficient activities, whether it be installing low-flow showerheads, ceiling insulation and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs).

If you are renting you can still take part in the scheme although you will need to discuss any proposed installations with your landlord.

Those with electricity suppliers that are not taking part in the scheme are still entitled to services such as the energy audit or energy efficient activities.

There is no need to switch companies, however, it could be a good time to undergo an energy comparison to see if you could get a better deal.

You can check the list of obliged power companies to arrange for the services to be undertaken. Bear in mind that each energy retailer can decide how they will meet their targets under the scheme so they might offer slightly different incentives.

There is no obligation to undertake any of the recommendations made to you by contractors and you are able to pick and choose from their suggestions.

Some of their tips might help you reduce your greenhouse gases while others may be useful to reduce your energy expenditure, which could result in lower power bills.

Posted by Matthew Cole.