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Better home energy efficiency part of an affordable energy transition

Media Release

SA Power Networks has become the first Australian electricity distributor to sign on to the Healthy Homes for Renters initiative coordinated by tenant advocacy organisation Better Renting with support from Energy Consumers Australia (ECA).

Healthy Homes for Renters is a national collaboration of about 100 organisations calling for minimum energy efficiency standards for rental homes.

In recent submissions to the SA Government’s Green Paper on Energy and a review of the State’s Residential Tenancies Act, South Australia’s electricity distributor SA Power Networks has highlighted the need for strong action to improve the energy efficiency of homes, particularly for renters.

“We believe there should be more focus on the demand side of the equation in managing our State’s exciting energy transition,” said SA Power Networks CEO Andrew Bills.

“Although it is needed it’s not just a matter of more generation and more transmission, it’s also a matter of ensuring we use energy smartly and that our homes are as energy efficient as possible.

“The efficiency of existing housing stock is a critical issue impacting energy costs and health outcomes. By improving it, we can significantly reduce energy bills for those least able to do so and contribute to decarbonisation. It will also mean we will need to invest less in the supply side – generation, networks, storage and firming capacity – to meet household demand,” Andrew said.

“Energy efficient homes will also improve other important outcomes including health and wellbeing.”

Andrew said SA Power Networks supported the Community Sector Blueprint submission to a review of the national framework for minimum energy efficiency for rental properties and it recognised that appropriate measures would need to be put in place to support landlords in lifting the efficiency of the homes they manage.

The Community Sector Blueprint: National Framework for Minimum Energy Efficiency Rental Requirements has been prepared by community sector organisations advocating on behalf of renters and people on low incomes, including ECA (funded the development of the Blueprint), Energy Efficiency Council, ACOSS and Better Renting.

Joel Dignam, Executive Director of Better Renting said “We welcome SA Power Networks’ support in helping to improve the energy performance of rental homes. From our work with renters, we know there’s huge potential here to achieve benefits for renters in terms of lower energy costs and healthier homes. The support of SA Power Networks reminds us about the broader benefits to our energy system, which can help to reduce network costs and improve system resilience, meaning lower costs for all energy users.”

Jacqueline Crawshaw, Interim CEO of Energy Consumers Australia said “Improving energy efficiency in rental homes is a vital step in providing better outcomes for so many people in Australia. It can help bring down energy bills and improve health outcomes, helping to ensure that no one is left behind as we transition to Net Zero."

The South Australian Council of Social Service (SACOSS), the peak body for the non-government health and community services sector, has welcomed SA Power Networks’ support. Dr Rebecca Tooher, Director of Policy and Advocacy at SACOSS said:

“We welcome SA Power Networks’ support for the Healthy Homes for Renters campaign and its call for minimum energy efficiency standards in rental housing.

“Improving the energy efficiency of South Australian homes will not just ease the power pain many households are feeling when it comes to their electricity bill, but improve their health and wellbeing as well. Not to mention, it is essential to reducing emissions and improving the resilience of our energy system. SA Power Networks’ support is a timely reminder that investing in household energy efficiency must be an essential part of our State’s energy transition,” Dr Tooher said.

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