The Victorian Energy Upgrades program is helping Victorians cut power bills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by giving households and businesses access to discounted energy-efficient products and services.
The program works by setting a state-wide target for energy savings that results in a range of energy-efficient products and services being made available to homes and businesses at a discount.
Accredited providers that deliver these financial incentives can generate Victorian Energy Efficiency Certificates (VEECs). The number of certificates generated is based on the greenhouse gas savings that are associated with the product or service. The level of incentive or discount received by households and businesses varies depending on the market activity and certificate price.
Products must be professionally installed by an approved provider. Incentives for the purchase of some appliances may be available at point of sale at participating retailers. Consumers should check with an accredited provider prior to purchase.
The Victorian Energy Upgrades program is a market-based program. Since it is a free market, the value of certificates can fluctuate due to consumer supply and demand rates, just like any other type of market. Consequently, the availability of products and services can also vary over time.
The Victorian Energy Upgrades program (previously the ‘VEET scheme’) is established under the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target Act 2007, the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target Regulations 2008 and the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target (Project-Based Activities) Regulations 2017.
This legislative framework places a legal requirement on energy retailer companies to meet an annual greenhouse gas emissions reduction target by surrendering Victorian Energy Efficiency Certificates.
The program is administered by the Essential Services Commission (ESC), which is the independent regulator of the retail energy industry in Victoria. Its role is to oversee compliance and performance reporting by energy businesses, and to accredit businesses and the products and services which are eligible under the program. More information about the administration of the program can be found on the ESC website.
The Victorian Government announced that the targets for 2016-2025 are:
Amount of Victorian Energy Efficiency Certificates (VEECs)
Targets tonnes CO2 -e
GreenHouse Gas abatement
*2021 target will be given effect through greenhouse gas reduction rates.
For information on new targets and program expansion, download our factsheet.
Frequently Asked Questions: New targets and program expansion
What is the Victorian Energy Upgrades program?
The Victorian Energy Upgrades (VEU) program is a Victorian Government program that provides households with discounted energy efficient products and services. Victorian households and businesses can access program activities and discounts through accredited providers who operate across the state.
Accredited providers generate Victorian Energy Efficiency Certificates, which are sold to energy retailers. The Victorian Government sets annual emissions targets that require energy retailers to buy certificates.
The VEU program currently provides a range of low and no-cost energy-saving options such as low-flow showerheads, draught sealing and lighting. It also provides subsidies for replacing major appliances such as hot water systems and heating.
Since 2009, the program has supported over 1.8 million households and over 100,000 businesses to upgrade appliances and equipment.
Did the program receive funding in the 2020/21 State Budget?
$17 million was allocated to support delivery of an expanded VEU program over the next four years, in the 2020/21 State Budget. This will support new and revised incentives and create more opportunities for households and businesses to save energy and money.
A separate $9 million initiative will provide grants to support small and medium sized businesses, including those impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to participate in the VEU program. These grants will be available from 2021.
How does the VEU program reduce greenhouse gas emissions?
VEU supports households and businesses to install energy efficient equipment or switch to appliances that create less emissions. Since the program was established in 2009, it has reduced Victoria’s greenhouse gas emissions by over 60 million tonnes.
Under new emission reduction targets announced for the program, VEU will lock in 28 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions savings for Victoria between 2022 and 2025 – equivalent to taking more than 8.5 million cards off the road for a year.
Who can access discounted products and services through VEU?
Every household and business can participate in the program and be eligible for incentives for energy efficient products and services.
Victoria’s largest energy users, approximately 100 businesses, are exempt from the VEU program and have to opt-in to access incentives.
VEU accredited providers are located across Victoria and will discuss upgrade options and arrange installation. You can find your nearest accredited provider at www.victorianenergysaver.vic.gov.au.
What new incentives and activities will be available for households and businesses?
The program expansion will include new incentives to support consumers to replace gas appliances with efficient electric alternatives, maximise self-consumption of their rooftop solar energy, and install smart appliances including home energy management systems.
The program will also provide subsidies targeted to businesses, including replacing inefficient gas boilers with efficient electric alternatives.
Work will be undertaken to increase access to the program by increasing incentives and options for households and businesses that can particularly benefit from energy efficiency measures, such as low-income households and small businesses affected by coronavirus (COVID-19).
The costs of the VEU program are passed on by energy retailers to consumers in their energy bills. Will the program expansion increase bills for consumers, particularly those who don’t participate?
The energy saving equipment installed under the VEU program reduces energy demand and the need to build new energy infrastructure, which in turn lowers energy prices for everyone by more than the cost of the program.
This means that even those who do not participate will save on their bills, with average households estimated to save $150 and businesses to save $870 over the next 10 years.
Between 2010 and 2020, the program reduced electricity retail prices by 2.2 per cent for households and at least 2.8 per cent for businesses. This reduction in energy prices and the consequent energy bill savings outweighs the VEU program costs.
How much can a household save on energy bills by participating in VEU?
The average household currently saves $110 per year by participating in VEU. These savings are expected to increase to between $120 and $1,100 a year under new under new emission reduction targets for the program for 2022-25.
How much can a business save on energy bills by participating in VEU?
The average business currently saves $3,700 per year by participating in VEU. These savings are estimated to increase under new emission reduction targets for the program for 2022-25 – businesses will save between $500 and $74,000 a year depending on the size of the business.
New targets for the program were recently announced. What are they and what does this mean for Victorians?
The Victorian Government’s annual emissions saving targets for the VEU program for 2022 to 2025 are the most ambitious targets ever set for the program and ensure that VEU continues to be the largest energy efficiency scheme in Australia.
The new 2022-2025 targets will increase each year, with energy efficiency upgrades made under the program locking in 6.7 million tonnes of emissions reductions in 2022, building to 7.3 million tonnes in 2025. These savings are equivalent to taking 8.5 million cars off the road.
The targets will reduce Victoria’s energy consumption 2025 by seven per cent and deliver bigger savings on energy bills.
What are the changes to the existing VEU incentives?
There will be an increase in the number of incentives available and refreshed requirements to access existing subsidies. This will expand access to proven energy saving technologies including energy efficient shower roses, space heating, water heating and pool pumps and building shell upgrades.
How will VEU and the new targets support electrification?
As part of the expanded VEU program, new incentives will be introduced for consumers to replace gas appliances with efficient electric alternatives. This includes subsidies to electrify water heating and space heating for households and replace commercial and industrial boilers with efficient heat pumps.
This will save consumers on their energy bills, reduce emissions and help Victoria avoid potential gas shortfalls.
How does VEU impact demand pressures for electricity and gas in Victoria?
Energy savings delivered by the VEU program are expected to reduce the Victorian electricity consumption by seven per cent in 2025 and avoid $3.8 billion in energy system costs.
The program also offers subsidies for several gas efficiency and fuel switching upgrades. Due to these, gas consumption in Victoria is expected to be reduced by nine per cent in 2025. This will help alleviate future demand pressures.
The reduction in energy demand enabled by the VEU program will provide significant decreases in wholesale energy prices and deliver savings for all Victorians.
How is VEU managing coronavirus (COVID-19) risks?
The Government has provided clear directions to all businesses involved in VEU activities that they, and their sub-contractors, must have a COVIDSafe Plan in place that is adhered to at all times. The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, and the Essential Services Commission, closely monitor participant behaviour and respond to any complaints.
Page last updated: 18/12/20