Victorians are big on gas, with approximately 80% of households connected to a natural gas supply – far more than any other state. So when gas prices soared last year, it was Victorians who felt the pain. Unfortunately, with the ongoing cost of living and energy crisis, prices are likely to remain high for the foreseeable future.
But there is some good news! The Victorian government has recently announced that new financial incentives for electric appliances will soon be added to the Victorian Energy Upgrades (VEU) program, making it easier for you to switch from expensive gas to a cheap electricity alternative to save on your bills.
This page will discuss the benefits of switching from gas to electricity and how you can access support through the VEU.
Benefits of switching to electricity
There are several reasons why Australia is making the transition to electricity. Not only are there significant environmental benefits, but there are also some big financial and safety benefits for homeowners.
- Escalating gas costs
The government has estimated that an average home can save a huge $1,000 per year on their bills by switching to electricity. And this figure shoots up to $2,200 if you have solar power installed at your home.
With the global gas market still unstable, electricity gives a cheaper, more reliable alternative energy for your home.
- Transition to renewables
Australia has committed to a net-zero future by 2050. A big part of the success of this plan will be reforming the energy market by switching to renewable energy sources.
There are plenty of renewable options to generate electricity, including solar, wind and hydropower, which are all becoming more established in Australia. Gas, however, must be extracted, processed and converted to be transported into the gas system for energy generation or residential use.
The Victorian government has announced new rules and regulations for new houses, which will be gas-free. The government will spend $10 million on a residential electrification grant program to provide solar panels, solar hot water and heat pump rebates to new home buyers. The future of Victoria is electric!
- Avoid the hazards of gas appliances
Although rare, there are inherent risks associated with gas appliances, including the potential release of harmful carbon monoxide, which can compromise indoor air quality and create serious health hazards.
Electric appliances offer a safer alternative, working without the use of open flames or toxic fumes to create a secure environment for the well-being of your family.
How to switch to electricity
If you are used to your trusty gas appliances, the idea of making the switch to electricity is probably a bit overwhelming. Just remember to take it slowly and only make changes that are right for your home.
- Research your options
Your home appliances are a big investment, so don’t leap in and buy the first electric option you see. There are a lot of reputable retailers, suppliers and installers to consider, so it’s worth taking your time and understanding your options. You need to think about your budget and how you use your appliances before you make a purchase.
- Plan which appliances you want to replace
Don’t try to change everything at once – it won’t be good for your hip pocket or your state of mind! A good place to start is with any ageing gas appliances that are near the end of their operational life. Not only does this make sense for your budget, but also contributes to a sustainable transformation by not throwing out new products.
Common gas appliances that you can consider upgrading to electric include:
- Heating systems: Heating makes up a big portion of your energy costs. Replacing your gas heating system with a reverse-cycle air conditioner will unlock some huge savings.
- Hot water: A heat pump in place of an energy-hungry gas hot water system will reduce your energy usage.
- Cooktops and ovens: A gas stovetop is one of the hardest things for keen home chefs to let go of. Switching to an induction stove will not only save you money, but you will enjoy precision heat control for your future culinary adventures.
- Compare energy Victoria
When you change the energy mix of your home, it’s important to compare energy plans to make sure you have the best option for your new energy usage.
You should look for a plan that offers cheap electricity rates, including a Time of Use (ToU) tariff to access low off-peak rates. If you have solar panels, you should also look for a plan with a high solar feed-in tariff (FiT) so you can maximise the amount you earn from the excess electricity you generate.
You should compare energy plans every 12 months to make sure you always have the best deal. Most plans only have a one-year benefit period, and after that, you will automatically be transferred to a standing offer, which could cost you hundreds of dollars more every year.
In addition, energy retailers often have incentives and rewards for new customers, so it pays to shop around and find the best cheap energy deal.
How to apply for the Victorian Energy Upgrade Program
You can access financial assistance to make the switch from gas to electricity through the VEU. Every household in Victoria is eligible to apply for the program.
To access the discounts and savings, you must engage an accredited provider to install Victorian Energy Upgrades products. Accredited providers are businesses approved to participate in the program.
If you are interested in upgrading your appliances to unlock cheap electricity bills, follow these steps.
- Research the available products
- Select the energy-efficient electric appliances you want to install
- Contact an accredited provider to install your appliances. This provider is responsible for organising your discount or rebate in line with the VEU.
You can find out more on the Compare Energy Victoria website.
As well as replacing gas appliances, many other appliances are part of the VEU:
- Clothes dyers
- Fridges and freezers
- Heating and cooling
- Hot water systems
- Pool pumps
- Shower heads
- Weather sealing
- Window glazing
If you are a Victorian resident, the VEU is a great way to access discounts and rebates to improve the energy efficiency of your home and unlock long-term savings on your energy bills.
The energy market in Victoria is changing. Not only are prices unstable and high, but the transition to renewables is well and truly upon us.
Don’t get left behind! Start the transformation to an energy-efficient household by accessing the support available through the VEU. Not only will you be contributing to Australia’s net-zero future, but you’ll get some much-needed relief on your bills!