24 April 2023

Gas-to-electric transition tool launched to give Canberrans an informed CHOICE

| Claire Fenwicke
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CHOICE and ACT Government electric comparison website

CHOICE CEO Alan Kirkland and Emissions Reduction Minister Shane Rattenbury launch the new electric transition website. Photo: Claire Fenwicke.

Drowning in all the product recommendations for what electric appliances could suit your home? Well, the ACT Government has partnered with consumer advocacy group CHOICE to show you the best options for your residence.

It’s the first time the not-for-profit has joined forces with a government and CEO Alan Kirkland said the partnership was a chance to help people which was too good to pass up.

“This tool provides really practical, simple advice, coupled with CHOICE’s independent product recommendations based on our product testing,” he said.

The tool provides a one-stop shop of information on what products could suit your home, how much it could cost and how much money you could be saving.

Users enter details about their home, any concessions they’re eligible for and the gas appliances they’re wishing to replace – be it home heating, hot water or cooking appliances.

A customised action plan is then produced to help people transition their homes to become electric, be it now or in five years’ time.

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It provides options at three price points – high, medium and low – and enables Canberrans to make the comparison between cost, efficiency and effectiveness.

“You can spend a lot of money on a product that looks great and it can perform terribly in your home or be inefficient in terms of energy,” Mr Kirkland said.

“But you can also buy some really good performing products at pretty low prices.”

The tool also flags which products have been identified as “Canberra climate ready”.

“The appliance that’s right for your home and how it will perform will vary greatly depending on the climatic conditions, and obviously Canberra is a city of extremes,” Mr Kirkland said.

“It’s really important to take that into account when assessing, for example, what is the right type of heat pump hot water system [for you], because heat pumps depend on the ambient temperature, so building in ACT-specific recommendations is really critical to making sure that people get good advice.”

The contract with CHOICE is for two years and cost $39,000, providing Canberrans with access to information which would normally be behind the organisation’s paywall.

There’s the option to extend the contract and tweak the tool depending on user numbers and feedback.

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Emissions Reduction Minister Shane Rattenbury said that while the ACT’s full transition to electric doesn’t have to be completed until 2045, the Government wanted to give people the choice to start the switch when it suited them.

“Now would be a terrible time to install a new gas appliance because we have made it clear that the ACT will be phasing out of fossil fuel gas over the coming decades,” he said.

“It is about making sure there is good information now, and also being really clear to people that there is time.

“If you only installed your [gas] appliance four or five years ago, we’re not asking you to tear that out because it is in perfectly good order. But when the time comes, make sure your next choice is an electric choice, because that is the future.”

The tool also includes information for finding local installers, how much the average installation could cost, and what government rebates are available.

It takes about 10 minutes to complete, but Mr Rattenbury said there was no rush.

“Our key message to Canberrans is: make your next choice electric,” he said.

“When your gas heating system breaks down, when your gas hot water system gets to the end of its natural life, that’s the time to change over – it’s the most economical time to do it and it’s the most logical time to do it.

“We’ve got about 20 years to make this transition, not everybody will need to transition straight away, and the tool will give that advice about timing as well.”

The ‘make your next choice electric’ tool can be found at the Everyday Climate Choices website.

Original Article published by Claire Fenwicke on Riotact.

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