Regulator takes action against accredited businesses over alleged inaccurate claims of energy upgrade activities and non-compliant installations
09 October 2023
The Essential Services Commission has taken action against two accredited businesses due to alleged non-compliant activity under the Victorian Energy Upgrades program.
The commission has ordered accredited business B & G Green Trading Pty Ltd ATF B & G Trust – trading as Aussie Greenmarks – to surrender (that is return to the program for no payment) 619 allegedly non-compliant certificates valued at over $50,000. These certificates were claimed for commercial lighting installations by a subcontracted installation company under the program.
The commission gathered evidence alleging the installation company subcontracted by Aussie Greenmarks provided inaccurate information about the type of lights in place at 14 commercial premises before they were upgraded for the purposes of claiming certificates through the program.
This led Aussie Greenmarks to unintentionally but repeatedly create non-compliant certificates for the activities.
While the upgrades were carried out by a subcontractor, Aussie Greenmarks was responsible as the accredited business for making sure the installations and associated certificates complied with the program rules.
In addition to ordering the mandatory surrender of non-compliant certificates, the commission has warned Aussie Greenmarks that it will closely review the business’ internal compliance monitoring policies and procedures when evaluating its accreditation renewal application.
Aussie Greenmarks has cooperated with the investigation, including conducting its own audit and voluntarily withdrawing 666 certificates associated with nine of the alleged non-compliant upgrade activities carried out by the subcontracted installation company.
The commission has also taken action against accredited business MYOM Australia Pty Ltd (MYOM) after an investigation found evidence of poor quality heat pump water heater installations that did not meet program standards.
The water heater installations potentially risked consumer safety, due to issues such as hot water pipes not being thermally insulated, compressors not being properly secured, and inappropriately placed water tanks.
As the business responsible for these installations, the commission has refused 429 certificates and ordered MYOM to surrender of 52 certificates for alleged non-compliant activities. The current combined value of these certificates is over $40,000.
MYOM has been restricted from installing heat pump water heaters under the program until the business satisfies the commission through an independent audit that it is able to engage in these activities in compliance with program rules. MYOM must also meet rectification and reporting obligations within 20 business days.
To maintain program integrity and protect consumers, the commission monitors program activity and certificates for compliance and takes action where there is evidence rules have been breached.
Chairperson and commissioner Kate Symons says the commission is committed to protecting consumers participating in the program, and has zero tolerance for non-compliant, unethical, unsafe, fraudulent or misleading behaviour.
“Accredited businesses must have appropriate systems and processes in place to ensure the compliance of installations carried out on their behalf. If they don’t, they risk enforcement action and it may impact on their eligibility to have their accreditation renewed,” Commissioner Symons said.
About the Victorian Energy Upgrades program
The Victorian Energy Upgrades (VEU) program helps Victorians reduce their energy bills and greenhouse gas emissions by providing access to discounted energy efficient products and services. The program also encourages investment, employment and innovation in industries that supply these products and services. Large energy retailers are required to acquire and surrender Victorian energy efficiency certificates (VEECs) to meet annual targets set in Victorian legislation.
‘Accredited persons’ that carry out eligible upgrade activities by installing energy-efficient products in residential or non-residential premises can create VEECs.
The greenhouse gas savings associated with the installation of an energy efficient product and/or decommissioning of an inefficient product determines the number of VEECs that can be created. The level of incentive or discount received by households and businesses varies depending on the market activity and certificate price.
Please note: Values of certificates in this media release are based on the current spot price ($85.25).