Regulator suspends business from participating in Victoria’s energy efficiency scheme following alleged unlawful lighting upgrade activity
04 November 2022
The state’s energy regulator has given Pan West Group Australia Pty Ltd, trading as Green Target Australia, a three-month suspension from participating as an ‘accredited person’ in the Victorian Energy Upgrades program over allegations the business breached program rules.
The Essential Services Commission also ordered Green Target Australia to surrender 14,987 energy efficiency certificates worth approximately $1 million. Certificates are created by accredited persons, which are businesses registered to provide services under the program, when they sell or install energy-saving products.
An investigation by the commission indicated Green Target Australia repeatedly but unintentionally created certificates that did not comply with the rules amid allegations a subcontracted electrician manipulated the baseline energy consumption at farms and businesses in regional Victoria where energy efficient lighting upgrades were installed.
Commission chairperson Kate Symons said Green Target Australia, as the accredited person, was responsible for ensuring the rules were followed when creating energy efficiency certificates under the program.
“Accredited persons need to exercise the care and responsibility expected of an energy efficiency business participating in the program – verifying information and maintaining effective oversight of staff and subcontractors,” Commissioner Symons said.
Green Target Australia’s suspension from the program is effective from 4 November 2022 to 4 February 2023. The commission also ordered Green Target Australia to conduct an independent audit to assess its processes and procedures for the creation of energy efficiency certificates.
Commissioner Symons says the alleged breaches were significant and systemic.
“Suspending an accredited person is not something the commission takes lightly but we will not hesitate to enforce the high standards expected of businesses providing services under the program,” she said.
“Since it began in 2009, the Victorian Energy Upgrades program has delivered benefits to more than 2 million households and businesses by helping to cut power bills while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Lowering energy usage in homes and small business plays an important role in achieving Australia’s net zero targets.”
About the Victorian Energy Upgrades program
The Victorian Energy Upgrades program is part of the Victorian Government’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It provides access to discounted energy-saving products and activities via ‘accredited persons’. Accredited persons are businesses registered to provide products and services to consumers under the program rules. When accredited persons undertake an eligible energy upgrade, they create Victorian energy efficiency certificates under the program. Each certificate represents one tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent of greenhouse gas saved.
Under the program, energy retailers offset greenhouse gas emissions by acquiring energy efficient certificates from accredited persons who install energy-efficient products in homes and businesses across Victoria.
Energy retailers are required to acquire and surrender these certificates to meet the annual targets set in Victorian legislation. Since the program began in 2009, it has saved over 70 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. This is equivalent to taking more than 21 million cars off the road for a year.
The commission regulates the creation, registration and surrender of certificates in accordance with the program’s legislative framework.