FAQs

REES electricity

    

About REES

What is REES?

The Retailer Energy Efficiency Scheme (REES) is an energy efficiency scheme which commenced on 1 January 2015. The REES builds on the Residential Energy Efficiency Scheme, which operated from 2009 to 2014. Under the REES, most energy retailers in South Australia will be required to provide incentives for South Australian households and businesses to achieve energy savings to potentially lower their energy bills.

Energy retailers that exceed certain thresholds are set annual targets for the delivery of energy efficiency activities to households and/or businesses. In addition, retailers with larger residential customer bases are set targets for ensuring that a certain amount of the energy efficiency activities they deliver go to low-income households; and providing energy audits to low-income households.

See the list of obliged energy retailers that are required to provide REES services.

Is the REES a Government initiative?

The South Australian Government announced REES in February 2008. On 21 August 2008, Regulations were made under the Electricity Act 1996 and Gas Act 1997 giving effect to the REES, with REES commencing from January 2009. The current Regulations expire on 31 December 2020.

For further information visit www.sa.gov.au/energy/rees.

Who administers the scheme?

The Regulations establish the Essential Services Commission of SA (the Commission) as the administrator of the REES. The Minister for Mineral Resources and Energy (the Minister) is responsible for setting the overall policy framework for the REES, including the fixing of any annual energy efficiency targets. The Commission administers the scheme within the parameters defined by the policy framework and in accordance with the Regulations.

How does the scheme work?

Obliged energy retailers are set annual energy efficiency and energy audit targets.

Energy Audits will be made available for a number of low-income households in the "priority group", to help assess current energy use practices, compare usage to energy efficient practices and identify practical ways to be more energy efficient at home.

Energy Efficiency Activities will be made available to South Australian households and many businesses through incentives offered by any retailer with REES targets in a particular year, for the installation of a number of pre-approved Energy Efficiency Activities. These may include activities such as the installation of efficient lighting products, low-flow showerheads and ceiling insulation.

When does it start? Does it end?

The REES commenced on 1 January 2009. Changes were made to the scheme from 1 January 2015, including extending the scheme to allow businesses to benefit from a number of REES activities. The Government has announced that the scheme will run until 31 December 2020.

REES access and eligibility

What if my energy provider does not participate in the scheme? Do I have to change my energy retailer to take advantage of the scheme?

No, an Energy Audit or Energy Efficiency Activity can be undertaken by any of the obliged energy retailers with REES targets in a particular year. Energy Audits and Energy Efficiency Activities do not need to be undertaken by your current energy provider and you are not obliged to change providers to take part in the REES.

Many obliged retailers use the services of third-party contractors to undertake activities on their behalf and may contact those contractors directly to organise Energy Efficiency Activities or and Energy Audit in your home or business. 

How do I get an Energy Audit or organise to have Energy Efficiency Activities undertaken in my home?  Who do I contact?

Consumers can contact any of the obliged energy retailers in South Australia, not just their current energy retailer, to find out what activities energy retailers are currently offering. Energy retailers may contract out their energy efficiency activities to third-party contractors, and you may also contact these third-party contractors directly.

Please note that the obliged energy retailers' have an obligation to fulfil their REES targets for any given REES year. It is up to each obliged energy retailer to determine how they will meet their targets and the types of Energy Efficiency Activities and incentives they will offer. Each energy provider is likely to differ in what they are offering.

Who can take part? Is it free?

Energy Audits will generally be provided free of charge to priority group households. 

Energy Efficiency Activities will be made available to all South Australian households and many businesses through incentives provided by any obliged retailer with REES targets in a particular year. Some Energy Efficiency Activities may be provided at a cost to residential customers so it is advised that you contact each obliged retailer for advice on costs involved with any Energy Efficiency Activities provided.

I am a small business, can I participate in the Scheme?

Yes, Energy Efficiency Activities will be made available to many businesses through incentives provided by any obliged retailer with REES targets in a particular year. Some Energy Efficiency Activities may be provided at a cost to business customers so it is advised that you contact each obliged retailer for advice on costs involved with any Energy Efficiency Activities provided.

Businesses are not eligible to receive Energy Audits under the Scheme.

Who are the priority group households?

For the purposes of the REES, a "priority group" household is as defined in the Electricity (General) Regulations 2012 and Gas Regulations 2012 as follows:

priority group household means residential premises in which a person resides who:

   (a)   is the holder of a current pensioner concession card issued by the Commonwealth Government; or

   (b)   is the holder of a current TPI Gold Repatriation Health Card issued by the Commonwealth Government; or

   (c)   is the holder of a current War Widows Gold Repatriation Health Card issued by the Commonwealth Government; or

   (d)   is the holder of a current Gold Repatriation Health Card (EDA) issued by the Commonwealth Government; or

   (e)   is the holder of a current Health Care Card (including a Low Income Health Care Card) issued by the Commonwealth Government; or

   (f)   is a recipient of the South Australian Government Energy Concession

   (g)  falls within a class of persons who are experiencing hardship determined or approved by the Minister or the Commission for the purposes of these regulations.

For the purposes of section (g) above:

  • The Commission has approved the addition of residential customers who are actively participating in retailer hardship programs.
  • The Minister has approved the addition of residential customer who receives a referral from a registered member of the South Australian Financial Counselors Association (SAFCA).

 

I rent, can I still take part in the scheme?

As a resident of a rental property you may still be able to take part in the REES, although for most Energy Efficiency Activities on offer you may need to obtain the permission of the landlord or landlord's agent before products are installed.

Do obliged energy retailers have an obligation to provide REES Energy Audits or Energy Efficiency Activities to householders who contact the obliged retailer directly.

No, the obliged energy retailers' have an obligation to fulfil their REES targets for any given REES year. It is up to each obliged energy retailer to determine how it will meet its targets and the types of Energy Efficiency Activities and incentives it will offer. Each energy provider is likely to differ in what it is offering.

REES energy audits and energy efficiency activities

Does an Energy Audit need to be undertaken in my home? Can the Energy Audit be done over the phone?

If you live in a regional area, an Energy Audit may, in some instances, be conducted by phone.

Who will come to my house or business?

A representative from the obliged energy retailer will undertake the Energy Audit or perform Energy Efficiency Activities in your home or business.  In many cases, obliged retailers use the services of third party providers who operate under a trading name other than the retailers'.

The obliged energy retailers' will ensure any representative that visits you has the necessary qualifications and experience to undertake Energy Audits or Energy Efficiency Activities.

For further information visit www.sa.gov.au/

How do I know that the person who comes to my house is legitimate?

All persons conducting Energy Audits or Energy Efficiency Activities must wear an identification badge which includes the person's name, photograph, company they are representing and contact telephone number of that company.

All persons conducting Energy Audits or Energy Efficiency Activities must also comply with minimum general conduct standards.

If you have any concerns you should contact the company that person represents or the Commission.

What is involved in an Energy Audit? What products/services are offered as Energy Efficiency Activities?

Obliged energy retailers are set annual energy efficiency and energy audit targets.

Energy Audits will be made available for a number of low-income households in the "priority group", to help assess current energy use practices, compare usage to energy efficient practices and identify practical ways to be more energy efficient at home.

Energy Efficiency Activities will be made available to South Australian households and many businesses through incentives offered by any retailer with REES targets in a particular year, for the installation of a number of pre-approved Energy Efficiency Activities. These may include activities such as the installation of efficient lighting products, low-flow showerheads and ceiling insulation.

Do I have to undertake ALL Energy Efficiency Activities offered/recommended or can choose?

No. The obliged retailer or its representative may recommend a range of Energy Efficiency Activities to help achieve greenhouse gas reductions and potentially lower your energy bills through reduced energy consumption. However, there is no obligation to undertaken any or all of the Energy Efficiency Activities offered or recommended.

How long does an Energy Audit or Energy Efficiency Activity take?

The time required for each REES activity is likely to differ. For information on the length of an Energy Audit or, the likely time required to undertake a particular Energy Efficiency Activity you should contact the obliged retailer offering the Energy Audit or Energy Efficiency Activity.

I have completed an online energy efficiency survey/audit. Does this count towards the REES?

No, the REES does not currently allow online energy audits. A REES Energy Audit may in some circumstances be conducted by phone or through a desktop interview.

I already have CFLs and other energy efficient products installed in my home. Can I get credit for these products?

No, for a CFL to count towards the REES it must have been installed by an obliged retailer or its representative.

What if I don't like the changes made? Can someone come back and change them?

For information on changes to products provided during an Energy Audit or products provided as Energy Efficiency Activity please contact the obliged retailer or the third-party contractor conducting the Energy Audit or undertaking the Energy Efficiency Activity.

Why do I need to sign a form?

Under the REES, households that receive either an Energy Audit or an Energy Efficiency Activity must confirm that the service has been completed in their household. When you sign the form you are only confirming that the details on the form are true and correct to the best of your knowledge.

Why can't I install the products myself?

Most of the Energy Efficiency Activities that may be made available under the REES require obliged retailers to ensure that the products are installed correctly.

Who do I contact if there is a problem/fault with a product that was installed under REES?

In the first instance you should contact the obliged retailer or third-party contractor that installed the products in your home or business. Installers are required to provide an information statement to the customer at the time the activity is performed. This information statement is required to include the manner in which the customer may access the dispute resolution processes and relevant contact details for those processes.

It is the provider’s responsibility to ensure that all products are installed in accordance with the specification and any other installation requirements and the products are operating correctly following installation. Standard product warranties apply.

If you are having difficulty contacting the provider please contact the Commission.

Why do you take away my old globes and showerheads etc?

Obliged energy retailers participating in the REES are required to ensure that the inefficient products do not go back into circulation.

How do I become a third party contractor?

Under REES, third party providers and contractors are not accredited or registered with the Commission. In general, each individual obliged retailer negotiates contracts with third party providers in relation to provision of activities to be undertaken on their behalf in a REES year.