3. The ESI Scheme in Context

HP Partners OpenmindThe profile of accredited persons

The ESI is delivered by a diverse group of businesses, as indicated by the profile of surveyed APs:

  • While more than half (58%) are energy efficiency services companies, there is also considerable involvement by energy retailers (16%), as well as manufacturers (18%, which includes both those who are and are not APs in addition to their manufacturing role);
  • Most are national organisations (60%), with around a third having local Victorian operations only (32%);
  • Most are located in either Melbourne (68%) or regional centres (26%) – very few are located in country towns or remote/rural localities; and
  • They have an average of 73 employees, but this to some extent disguises what is an even spread of small and medium sized businesses, with a small minority each of micro and larger businesses.

Chart 1. Nature of core business conducted by APs

This image shows the Nature of core business conducted by APs. The Energy retailer section accounts for 16%. The Manufacturers who are Aps section accounts for 8%. The Manufacturers who are not Aps section accounts for 10%. The Energy efficiency services company section accounts for 58%. The Some other type of business/organisation section accounts for 8%.

C1. Please could you tell me which sector your business predominantly operates in?

Base: All respondents, n=50

Chart 1. Nature of geographic operations of APs

A graph showing Nature of geographic operations of APs. The first pie shart shows Type of organisation. Local organisation with Victorian operations only represents 32%. National organisation with Victorian operations represents 60%. Multinational organisation with Victorian operations represents 8%. The second pie chart shows Location. Metropolitan Melbourne represents 68%. A regional centre represents 26%. A country town represents 4%. A rural or remote locality represents 2%. Interstate (not Victoria) represents 10%.

(Click on image to view a larger version)

C2. Which of the following most appropriately describes your organisation?

C4.Which of the following best describes where your organisation is located?

Base: All respondents, n=50

Chart 3. Number of employees of APs

This bar chart shows No. of employees in Australia with a mean of 73 employees. Businesses with 1 - 4 employees account for 14%. Businesses. Businesses with 5 - 19 employees account for 36%. Businesses with 20 - 199 employees account for 38%. Businesses with 200 or more employees account for 10%. Businesses with an unknown amound of employees account for 2%.

(Click on image to view a larger version)

C2. Which of the following most appropriately describes your organisation?

C4. Which of the following best describes where your organisation is located?

Base: All respondents, n=50

Relatively few APs are engaged in only one activity under the ESI; indeed, on average the surveyed providers claim to be accredited for 2.5 activities, and the manufacturers for 2.4. Solar water heating is the most commonly nominated activity, mentioned by 60% of all APs, and 62% of providers, with gas water heating the second most important activity for providers. For manufacturers, lighting is the most frequently nominated activity. Shower roses represented another substantial area of claimed ESI accreditation for APs, but no local manufacturers of shower roses were included in the survey.

Space heating (both ducted and non-ducted) and ceiling insulation are the least common ESI-accredited activities.

Chart 4. ESI activities undertaken by APs

This bar graph shows ESI activities undertaken by APs. ESI activities undertaken by APs show 60% for the total sample, with 62% for providers, and 40% for manufacturers. Efficient lighting show 46% for the total sample, with 42% for providers, and 80% for manufacturers. Efficient gas water heating show 44% for the total sample, with 47% for providers, and 20% for manufacturers. Efficient shower roses show 36% for the total sample, with 40% for providers, and 0% for manufacturers. Efficient ducted space heating show 28% for the total sample, with 29% for providers, and 20% for manufacturers. Efficient non-ducted space heating show 24% for the total sample, with 22% for providers, and 40% for manufacturers. Ceiling insulation show 10% for the total sample, with 11% for providers, and 0% for manufacturers

S2.[APs] Which of the following Energy Saver Incentive activities are you accredited to install?/[MANUFACTURERS] Which of the following energy efficient products do you manufacture which others provide to consumers as part of the ESI scheme?

Base: All respondents, n=50

While lighting is not the most frequent ESI activity for which the surveyed providers claim to be accredited accredited, it is clearly a high-volume activity; 63% of providers reported having carried out lighting installations in more than 100 households, compared with 32% and 29% respectively for solar and gas water heating. This is reflected in the very strong skew of ESI activities towards low energy lamps discussed earlier, with lighting accounting for 79% of all ESI activities undertaken since 2009.

Other activities for which accredited persons had carried out more than 100 installations included space heating (both ducted and non-ducted) and shower roses; in each case close to half of the providers accredited for the activity reported such volumes.

The overall pattern, therefore, is one of APs being accredited for two to three activities in which they have been highly active since the ESI scheme launched in 2009.

Chart 5. Number of sites/households at which ESI activities have been carried out

This chart shows the number of sites/households at which ESI activities have been carried out. The first pie chart shows Efficient lighting with A significant Efficient lighting number (>100 households) at 63%, A moderate number (20- 100 households) at 16%, and Some installations (<20) at 21%. Efficient solar water heating with A significant Efficientlighting number (>100 households)at 32%, A moderate number (20- 100 households) at 43%, and Some installations (<20) at 25%. Efficient gas water heating with A significant Efficient lighting number (>100 households) at 29%, A moderate number (20- 100 households) at 14%, and Some installations(<20) at 57%. Efficient shower roses with A significant Efficient lighting number (>100 households) at 44%, A moderate number (20-100 households) at 11%, and Some installations (<20) at 44%.Efficient ducted space heating with A significant Efficient lighting number (>100 households) at 46%, A moderate number (20- 100 households) at 8%, and Some installations (<20) at 46%. Efficient non-ducted space heating with A significant Efficient lighting number (>100 households) at 50%, A moderate number (20- 100 households) at 10%, and Some installations (<20) at 40%.

S4. Thinking about (ACTIVITY FROM S2), how many households or sites has your company carried out installations of this activity for under the ESI scheme?

Base: Accredited persons, n=45

Around seven in ten surveyed APs claim that their main activity under the ESI scheme is either solar water heating or lighting; no other single activity represented the main activity for more than 10% of APs. While the focus on lighting is to be expected, it is very much below its share of ESI activities to date, and shower roses are even more under-represented. This probably reflects a shift in the scheme's focus since its early stages, when lighting and shower roses were a key focus of activity. It appears that with more subdued levels of ESI activity in 2011, solar water heating has emerged as a stronger focus for APs.

Reflecting this shift over time, when asked to nominate additional activities that they would be likely to carry out under the ESI scheme in future, solar water heating is the most frequently mentioned activity, followed by stand-by power controllers, and activities in business premises (as opposed to the residential installations that have been the mainstay of the scheme since its inception).

Another apparent area of expansion in future is downlighting, which was mentioned by more APs than mentioned standard fitting lighting installations.

Chart 6. Main ESI activities carried out by APs

This pie chart shows the main ESI activities carried out by APs. Efficient lighting accounts for 34%. Efficient solar water heating, inc. solar pre-heaters or solar retrofit kits accounts for 36%. Efficient gas water heating accounts for 10%. Efficient shower roses accounts for 6%. Efficient ducted space heating accounts for 6%. Efficient non-ducted space heating accounts for 4%. Ceiling insulation accounts for 4%.

S5. What is the main activity that your company carries out under the ESI scheme?

Base: All respondents, n=50

Chart 7. Future ESI activities planned by APs

This chart shows the future ESI activities planned by APs. Efficient solar water heating accounts for 52%. Stand by power controllers accounts for 50%. Activities in business premises accounts for 50%. Efficient lighting - downlights accounts for 44%. Efficient gas water heating accounts for 40%. Efficient lighting - standard fitting accounts for 38%. Efficient shower roses accounts for 30%. Efficient ducted space heating accounts for 24%. Efficient non-ducted space heating accounts for 22%. Ceiling insulation accounts for 14%. Weather sealing accounts for 10%. Something else accoutns for 16%.

S6. Other than the activities your company is carrying out under the ESI scheme at the moment, what additional activities do you think that your company will carry out under the ESI scheme in the future?

Base: All respondents, n=50

Finally, most APs have recent experience with the ESI scheme, with almost two-thirds claiming to have created Victorian energy efficiency certificates (VEECs) within the last year. However, almost a quarter of respondents claimed that their business had never created any VEECs for high efficiency products, such as lighting, water heating, space heating, or a shower rose. It is likely that such businesses had sought and obtained accreditation with the intention of carrying out activities under the ESI, but for whatever reasons had not proceeded to do so.

Chart 8. ESI activities accredited for

 Graph showing the time since last creating VEECs, with 64% answering within the last year, 11% answering more than a year ago and 24% responding that their business has never done this.

S3. Thinking about your involvement in the ESI scheme, when is the last time your business created Victorian energy efficiency certificates (VEECs) in respect of installing a high efficiency product such as lighting, water heating, space heating or a shower rose?

Base: Accredited persons, n=45

The profile of consumers participating in the ESI scheme

Since its commencement in 2009, the ESI scheme has attracted participation by a profile of households that is skewed towards:

  • Home owners rather than tenants – 91% of surveyed consumers were home owners, and APs estimated the home owner share of ESI installations at around 90% for the high cost activities, but reducing to 83% and 69% for shower rose and lighting respectively.
    • While APs gave an average estimate of 31% of lighting installations being for tenants, 90% of surveyed consumers who had lighting installations were home owners.
    • This may reflect the greater difficulty of achieving interviews with tenants, as rental properties turnover faster than owner occupied properties.
    • Rental households make up 27% of Victorian households on average.
  • Mature households – either mature families or mature singles/couples.
    • Installations of lighting and water heating were significantly more likely than other ESI activities to involve mature singles or couples (52% and 49% respectively).
    • Young families and young couples/singles were significantly over-represented amongst those installing shower roses (11% and 7% respectively of such installations).
  • Smaller households – more than half contained only one or two people, which is broadly in line with ABS census data (58% of Victorian households in 2006).

Chart 9. Household type and structure of ESI participants

 When asked 'Which of the following best describes your household', 5% of ESI participants answered 'Young single or couple (no children)', 7% answered 'Young Family (oldest child under 6 years)', 13% answered 'Middle family (oldest child 6-15 years)', 29% answered 'Mature family (oldest child over 15 years)', and 46% answered 'Mature single or couple'. When asked the number of people in their household, 17% of ESI participants answered '1', 36% answered '2', 15% answered '3', 21% answered '4', and 11% answered '5+'. The mean number of people in the household was 3 people. When asked the number of bedrooms in the house, 1% of ESI participants answered '1', 13% answered '2', 49% answered '3', 29% answered '4', 6% answered '5+', and 1% refused to answer. The mean number of bedrooms in the house was 3.3 bedrooms.

(Click on image to view a larger version)

D3. Which of the following best describes your household?

D9. And how many people live in your household?

D10. How many bedrooms are there in your house?

Base: All respondents, n=1000

Demographically, those taking part in the ESI scheme are older than the population average:

  • More than half are aged 55 years or more (the mean age of surveyed participants was 55.0 years); and
  • Just over a third are retired.

In comparison, ABS data indicates that only 43% of Victorians aged 18 and over are aged 55 years or more (Source: June 2010 Demographic Statistics Quarterly), and only 8.5% are retired (Source: September 2010 Demographic Statistics Quarterly).

Reflecting the older age profile of scheme participants, over a third have not completed their education beyond Year 11, although more than a quarter hold higher tertiary (i.e. university) level qualifications. These levels of educational attainment, however, are not greatly different to the Victorian population average, suggesting that ESI scheme participants may be more highly educated than their age profile would indicate. Indeed, the proportion of surveyed participants in each broad age group who claimed to hold higher tertiary qualifications was between 6 and 15 percentage points higher than the 2006 Census results for the same age groups.

Around one in three of those who are working (who represent just over half of the sample) are working in health and community services or in education. This represents a considerable skew in comparison with the less than 20% of employed Victorians working in those two sectors in May 2011 (Source: ABS The Labour Force).

Chart 10. Age and gender of ESI scheme participants

 This chart shows that 2% of ESI scheme participants are aged 18-24, 6% are aged 25-34, 16% are aged 35-44, 24% are aged 45-54, 22% are aged 55-64 and 30% are aged 65 or more. This chart also shows that 57% of ESI scheme participants are female and 43% are male.

(Click on image to view a larger version)

D1. To ensure that we speak to a broad cross-section of people, could you please tell me which of the following age groups you fall into?

D2. Record gender

Base: All respondents, n=1000

Chart 11. Education and labour force status of ESI scheme participants

 When asked what the highest level of formal education they have completed,3% of ESI scheme participants answered 'Dont know/prefer not to say', 13% answered 'Year 9 or below', 21% answered 'Year 10 or 11', 17% answered 'year 12 or high school equivalent', 18% answered 'TAFE certificate or diploma', 18% answered 'Bachelors degree', and 9% answered 'Postgraduate qualification'. When asked which of the following describes your personal working situation, 34% of ESI scheme participants answered 'Working full time', 34% answered 'Retired', 20% answered 'Working part time/casual', 6% answered 'Home duties', 1% answered 'Student' and 4% answered 'Not in the workforce'. When asked which industry do you work in, 19% of ESI scheme participants answered 'Health & community services', 14% answered 'Education', 8% answered 'Manufacturing', 7% answered 'Government', 7% answered 'Transport & storage', 7% answered 'Construction', 6% answered 'Retail', 6% answered 'Agriculture/forestry & fisheries', 4% answered 'Accomodation/cafes & restaurants', 4% answered 'IT/Communication', 4% answered 'Finance', 1% answered 'Electricit/gas & water supply' and 1% answered 'Don't know/prefer not to say'.

(Click on image to view a larger version)

D6. What is the highest level of formal education you have completed?

D7. Which of the following best describes your personal working situation?

Base: All respondents, n=1000

D8. What industry do you work in? Base: Respondents who are working, n=535

Income levels of scheme participants are not particularly high, with more than four in ten earning personal incomes of $35,000 p.a. or lower, and a median household income of $51,800 p.a. This is somewhat below the Victorian median of around $66,900 p.a (Source: ABS Household Income and Income Distribution Australia 2007-08), and reflects the skew in the sample towards retirees and people aged 55 and over.

It also reflects the inclusion of lower income households who were involved in lower cost activities, such as lighting and shower roses; median household incomes for lighting and shower rose installations were considerably lower, at $47,800.

Chart 12. Personal and household income of ESI scheme participants

 When asked 'which of the following best describes your annual personal income from all sources before tax', 29% of ESI scheme participants answered 'Up to $20,000', 14% answered '$20,001-$35,000', 15% answered '$35,001-$50,000', 13% answered '$50,001-$75,000', 7% answered '$75,001-$100,000', 3% answered '$100,001-$150,000', 0% answered '$150,001-$200,000' 1% answered 'More than $200,000' and 19% answered 'Refused/Don't know'. When asked 'which of the following best describes your annual household income from all sources before tax', 13% of ESI scheme participants answered 'Up to $20,000', 14% answered '$20,001-$35,000', 11% answered '$35,001-$50,000', 14% answered '$50,001-$75,000', 13% answered '$75,001-$100,000', 10% answered '$100,001-$150,000', 3% answered '$150,001-$200,000' 2% answered 'More than $200,000' and 22% answered 'Refused/Don't know'.

(Click on image to view a larger version)

D4.Which of the following best describes your annual personal income from all sources before tax?

D5. And which of the following best describes your annual household income from all sources before tax?

Base: All respondents, n=1000

Around one in six of those surveyed claimed to regularly speak a language other than English at home; this is slightly lower than the Victorian average of 20% of people aged 18 and over (Source: ABS 2006 Census). To some extent this reflects the limitation of interviews to those with a minimum level of English language competency; 351 scheme participants who were approached for interview were unable to be interviewed because of their limited English skills. There is no indication overall, therefore, that the scheme was not accessed by people of non English speaking background.

More than a third of those surveyed claimed to be on some form of welfare support. Since 34% claimed to be retired, it is likely that they would account for a considerable proportion of this sub-group of ESI scheme participants. Indeed, 81% of scheme participants aged 55 and over hold a concession or health care card. In 2008 the ABS reported that 27% of people aged 15 and over in Australia were on some form of income support, such as unemployment, disability, or carer support. The higher incidence amongst survey participants probably reflects the older age profile of the sample compared to the Victorian population.

Chart 13. Other demographic characteristics of ESI scheme participants

 A pair of pie graphs indicating demographic characteristics of ESI scheme participants, specifically whether a language other than English is spoken at home, and whether a concession or health care card is held. Of ESI scheme participants, 38% are health care or concession card holders, while 61% are not, and 17% speak a language other than English at home, while 82% do not.

D11. Do you regularly speak a language other than English at home?

D12. Are you the holder of a Pensioner Concession Card or a Centrelink Health Care Card?

Base: All respondents, n=1000

Summary

The introduction of the ESI in 2009 has created an industry sector that is highly diverse, ranging from micro-businesses based around local trades or environmental services, through to national energy retailers and manufacturers with international ownership. APs are heavily concentrated in Melbourne and larger regional centres, with relatively weak representation outside of those areas. The sector has a strong reliance on lighting and water heating, although recent shifts towards solar water heating and standby controllers have been emerging.

The consumers who have taken up energy efficiency upgrades under the ESI scheme have been mostly home owners, and have a demographic profile that is skewed towards mature households and pre-retirees and retirees. However, within the overall Victorian population of older people, those taking up ESI activities appear to have been more educated and on higher household incomes. There is a suggestion that the scheme may have been more successful in appealing to informed middle class households than the broader population. However, in fact there was a division between higher value products, such as water and space heating that are more likely to be taken up by households with higher disposable incomes, and lower cost activities that are more likely to be taken up by lower income households.

« Back to Table of Contents

Page last updated: 24/06/20