National Energy Savings Initiative (NESI) Issues Paper

COTA Australia comments on the National Energy Savings Initiative (NESI) Issues Paper.
(February 2012)
Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency

COTA is increasingly concerned that the rising costs of essential services such as energy are affecting the health and wellbeing of older Australians. Due to this concern COTA is active in energy policy debates and regulatory decision-making processes through submissions and its membership on the AER Consumer Consultative Group (CCG).

COTA is primarily concerned with the costs and benefits of energy savings schemes for older people. This brief submission does not attempt to respond to all of the questions raised in the issues paper but instead focuses on the needs of older people in regard to energy savings, energy costs and essential heating and cooling for health and safety.

COTA is concerned that many current energy efficiency and energy savings schemes offer neither value for money nor tangible savings for low income and low use energy consumers. While scheme costs are in some cases (e.g. the South Australian Residential Energy Efficiency Scheme (REES)) spread across the electricity customer base, the cost savings of activities for low use consumers are limited. This is due to the ‘broad’ rather than ‘deep’ coverage of schemes, and contributes to a cost-benefit disparity is more pronounced for older people who live in smaller, more efficient homes.