‘Do More’: Victorian Greens Urge Government to Accelerate Shift to All-Electric Homes

The initiative aligns with broader efforts to reduce reliance on fossil gas, addressing rising energy bills and promoting sustainable practices.
‘Do More’: Victorian Greens Urge Government to Accelerate Shift to All-Electric Homes
Blue flames rise from the burner of a natural gas stove in Orange, Calif., on June 11, 2003. (David McNew/Getty Images)
Isabella Rayner
12/14/2023
Updated:
12/14/2023
0:00

The Victorian Greens have called on the Allan Labor government to “do more” in accelerating the transition to all-electric homes, citing environmental and economic concerns.

Greens Deputy Leader Ellen Sandell said Victorians need support transitioning away from gas, with a halt on new fossil fuel drilling and the sale of new gas appliances.

“Victorians use more gas in their homes than any other state; it is a huge cause of emissions and also very expensive for households,” she explained.

Victorian households pay over $500 more for gas than two years ago, a 35 percent increase.
In response to sky-high bills, Labor released its Gas Substitution Roadmap on Dec. 14, which includes discounted support for Victorians switching to electric induction cooktops in 2024.
Energy Minister Lily D'Ambrosio said Victorians switching to all-electric could save $1,700 a year, and with solar, it could be up to $2,700—a 60 percent cut in energy costs. 
“We’re ensuring Victorians aren’t locked into high fossil gas prices and sky-high energy bills for decades—helping them switch to efficient electric appliances that will deliver significant bill savings,” Ms. D'Ambrosio explained.
“We’re also helping renters save money on their energy bills through new minimum energy efficiency standards that include better insulation and efficient heating and cooling, meaning comfortable homes that are cheaper to run.”
However, opposition energy spokesman David Davis explained forcing Victorians off gas would increase costs and deny them a choice.

“The average cost of the Victorian Default Offer for electricity has increased by $413 or 30.8 percent,” he said.

“Instead of restricting energy supply and choice for Victorians, Labor must focus on securing additional supply so that households and businesses can access affordable and reliable power they need and deserve.”

Close Leaky Gas Distribution System

Friends of the Earth campaigner Freja Leonard welcomed the Roadmap but deemed it “nearly” ambitious. 
“While this is a small step in a direction we should be running towards, it is, unfortunately, neither a roadmap to reform nor does it propose powerful measures to make deep cuts to gas use,” she said. 
She explained that more public information is still needed to inform Victorians about options like efficient induction cooktops.

“Without a prominent public information campaign, most Victorians won’t even know these are an option,” she said.

She also emphasised the urgent need to address Victoria’s “leaky gas distribution system.”
“Victoria’s leaky gas distribution system still urgently needs a plan to shut down in a way that is rapid, orderly and equitable. People are already switching from gas to renewable energy, leaving those, like renters and very low-income households, who aren’t in a position to disconnect from gas, paying more in service charges to deliver an expensive, inefficient energy source to their homes,” she said. 
“We urge the Energy Minister Lily D'Ambrosio to push forward with the necessary reforms to remove gas from Victoria’s energy system as quickly as possible.”
Environment Victoria’s Senior Climate and Energy Adviser, Dr Kat Lucas-Healey, pointed out gas supply sources are still active in the state. 
“Ultimately, to stop runaway climate change, we need to ensure that fossil gas stays in the ground, so we are disappointed the Allan government hasn’t ruled out approving new sources of supply such as drilling under the Twelve Apostles or giant import terminals in Port Phillip Bay,” she said.
“Victoria’s transition off gas is both more complex and more urgent than anywhere else in Australia. Today’s updated Gas Substitution Roadmap demonstrates the government is seriously grappling with the complexity, but more urgency is still required.”

“Going All-Electric a No-Brainer:” Energy Council

Meanwhile, Energy Efficiency Council (EEC) CEO Luke Menzel weighed in about how all-electric homes financially benefit Victorian families.
“With interest rates sky high, if used to help pay off your home loan, these bill savings from going all-electric could slash two years off an average 25-year mortgage in Melbourne,” he said.
Further, he said the upfront costs of building an all-electric home are comparable to those with a gas connection.

“That makes going all-electric a no-brainer,” he added.

Building an all-electric home has the potential to reduce household energy bills by 35 percent. These savings can double when combined with rooftop solar and energy efficiency upgrades, according to Renew.
Rewiring Australia Research has underscored the financial gains for households switching from gas-powered to electric appliances, especially those with rooftop solar.
Using a solar-powered heat pump, the cost of a hot shower drops from 49 cents to just six cents. Additionally, heating a Victorian home with gas averages $2.47 per day and can be reduced to $1.13 with a solar and battery-backed heat pump.
Isabella Rayner is a reporter based in Melbourne, Australia. She is an author and editor for WellBeing, WILD, and EatWell Magazines.
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