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The Victorian Government is encouraging residents to switch gas appliances to electric (Bigstock)

The St Vincent de Paul Society’s general manager of policy and research says the Victorian Government’s plan to subsidise a transition from gas to electrical appliances will act as a tax on the poor. Source: The Australian.

Gavin Dufty, an expert on the energy sector and impact of power bills on Australia’s most disadvantaged, said plans to be announced as part of the Victorian Gas Substitution Roadmap will ultimately increase the power bills of all Victorians – including those living below the poverty line – in order to subsidise wealthier homeowners replacing gas appliances.

The move is expected to see the Victorian Energy Upgrade program – which provides subsidies for energy-saving appliances – expanded to include electric cooktops. Under the VEU program, installers of new electrical appliances receive carbon credits, which are funded by electricity retailers who are required to purchase them, and recoup the expense through the fees they charge customers for power.

Mr Dufty called on the Government to fund the program “on consolidated revenue, rather than loading up costs to particular groups in the community to underwrite the transition”.

He also condemned the Allan Government for axing three key concession schemes from January 1, as part of a plan in the May budget to save at least $17 million a year, based on last financial year’s spending on the concessions. The Government has axed the property charge, controlled load electricity and electricity transfer fee waiver concessions.

A spokeswoman for Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said: “Homes with efficient appliances require less power; reducing demand for power across the grid brings down the average wholesale price – with households that haven’t used the VEU still projected to save $150 and business saving $870.”


Victoria’s appliance subsidy plan a ‘poor tax’ says charity boss (By Rachel Baxendale, The Australian)