SA Power Networks is the first electricity distributor to become part of the Healthy Homes for Renters initiative, a national collaboration of approximately 100 organisations calling for minimum energy efficiency standards for rental homes.
The program is being coordinated by tenant advocacy organisation, Better Renting and is supported by Energy Consumers Australia (ECA).
In recent submissions to the South Australian Government’s Green Paper on Energy and a review of the state’s Residential Tenancies Act, South Australia’s electricity distributor SA Power Networks has highlighted the need for strong action to improve the energy efficiency of homes, particularly for renters.
SA Power Networks CEO, Andrew Bills, said that there should be more focus on the demand when managing the state’s exciting energy transition.
“Although it is needed, it’s not just a matter of more generation and more transmission, it’s also a matter of ensuring we use energy smartly and that our homes are as energy efficient as possible,” Mr Bills said.
“The efficiency of existing housing stock is a critical issue impacting energy costs and health outcomes. By improving it, we can significantly reduce energy bills for those least able to do so and contribute to decarbonisation. It will also mean we will need to invest less in the supply side – generation, networks, storage and firming capacity – to meet household demand.
“Energy efficient homes will also improve other important outcomes including health and wellbeing.”
Mr Bills said that SA Power Networks supported the Community Sector Blueprint submission to a review of the national framework for minimum energy efficiency for rental properties and that it recognised that appropriate measures would need to be put in place to support landlords in lifting the efficiency of the homes they manage.
The Community Sector Blueprint: National Framework for Minimum Energy Efficiency Rental Requirements has been prepared by community sector organisations advocating on behalf of renters and people on low incomes, including ECA (funded the development of the Blueprint), Energy Efficiency Council, ACOSS and Better Renting.
Better Renting Executive Director, Joel Dignam, welcomed SA Power Networks’ support in helping to improve the energy performance of rental homes.
“From our work with renters, we know there’s huge potential here to achieve benefits for renters in terms of lower energy costs and healthier homes,” Mr Dignam said.
“The support of SA Power Networks reminds us about the broader benefits to our energy system, which can help to reduce network costs and improve system resilience, meaning lower costs for all energy users.”
Energy Consumers Australia Interim CEO, Jacqueline Crawshaw, said that improving energy efficiency in rental homes is a vital step in providing better outcomes for many people in Australia.
“It can help bring down energy bills and improve health outcomes, helping to ensure that no one is left behind as we transition to net zero,” Ms Crawshaw said.
Director of Policy and Advocacy at the South Australian Council of Social Service (SACOSS), Dr Rebecca Tooher, said that SACOSS welcomes SA Power Networks’ support for the Healthy Homes for Renters campaign and its call for minimum energy efficiency standards in rental housing.
“Improving the energy efficiency of South Australian homes will not just ease the power pain many households are feeling when it comes to their electricity bill, but improve their health and wellbeing as well,” Ms Tooher said.
“Not to mention, it is essential to reducing emissions and improving the resilience of our energy system. SA Power Networks’ support is a timely reminder that investing in household energy efficiency must be an essential part of our state’s energy transition.”