The Victorian Energy Upgrades program provides valuable economic and environmental benefits to Victorians. It assists households and small businesses to reduce their energy bills and greenhouse gas emissions by providing access to discounted energy efficient products and services.
The program is funded by energy retailers which are required to surrender Victorian energy efficiency certificates (that is return certificates to the program for no payment) in proportion to the volume of electricity and gas they sell each year.
Most energy retailers met their liability under the program in 2022, with more than 6,603,730 certificates surrendered to the program to offset emissions generated by energy sales.
Weston Energy surrendered 11,262 certificates for the 2022 compliance year, 670 certificates short of its liability for the year.
The Essential Services Commission, who is responsible for administering and regulating the Victorian Energy Upgrades program, issued the shortfall penalty statement after confirming the liability shortfall first identified by the business’ independent auditor.
Chairperson Kate Symons says the penalty is a reminder to energy retailers operating in the state that they are bound by clear obligations relating to the Victorian Energy Upgrades program.
“Energy retailers are required by law to meet their annual energy efficiency liabilities which play a key role in helping to achieve Victoria’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets. This is in keeping with community expectations that regulated energy businesses act in the long-term interest of Victorians,” said Commissioner Symons.
Where necessary, the commission will enforce energy retailers’ obligations in relation to the Victorian Energy Upgrades program. Earlier this year the commission commenced legal proceedings in the Victorian Supreme Court against Mojo Power East Pty Ltd and QEnergy Limited for failing to meet shortfall penalties for the 2021 compliance year. Both entities, now with managers and receivers appointed and with QEnergy Limited in liquidation, acquitted their liabilities for the 2021 compliance year following commencement of proceedings. The Victorian Supreme Court declared each had contravened its obligations and ordered payment of interest and costs in the commission’s favour.
The Victorian Energy Upgrades program has led to millions of inefficient energy products being replaced in households and businesses across the state since it began in 2009. This has reduced greenhouse gas emissions and saved participating households and businesses hundreds of dollars a year. The program also encourages investment, employment and innovation in industries that supply energy efficient products and services.