About the Retailer Energy Efficiency Scheme (REES)
What is the REES?
REES stands for the Retailer Energy Efficiency Scheme.
The REES was introduced by the South Australian Government to help South Australian residential customers manage their energy costs and to assist them to reduce their energy usage.
It commenced on 1 June 2009 and was then known as the Residential Energy Efficiency Scheme. It was scheduled to end in 2014, however, in 2012 the Minister for Mineral Resources and Energy undertook a review and announced that it would continue on until 31 December 2020. Following the review it was renamed as the Retailer Energy Efficiency Scheme and further extended to South Australian business customers.
A further review is being undertaken in 2019/2020 and it is anticipated that the REES will continue beyond 31 December 2020. Information on the current review can be accessed at the Department for Energy and Mining.
Who administers the REES?
The Essential Services Commission (the Commission) administers the REES in accordance with the Electricity (General) Regulations 2012 (SA) and the Gas Regulations 2012 (SA). The Commission was established by the Essential Services Commission Act 2002 (SA).
The Commission ensures that obliged energy retailers and third-party contractors comply with the requirements of the REES. The Commission itself does not engage in, or perform, any installation activities.
What is the role of energy retailers under the REES?
Under the REES, most electricity and gas energy retailers in South Australia are required to provide incentives for South Australian residential households and businesses to achieve energy savings and to potentially lower their energy bills. Those energy retailers who are required to provide REES services to customers are known as obliged energy retailers.
Obliged energy retailers are energy retailers who are set annual targets for the delivery of energy efficiency activities to households and/or businesses. Here is a list of current obliged energy retailers relevant to South Australian energy customers.
How does the REES work?
Obliged energy retailers are set annual energy efficiency and energy audit targets. To achieve these targets the retailers make available to South Australian households and businesses a variety of approved energy efficiency activities and energy audits (REES activities).
How to access the REES
Who do I contact to have REES activities carried out in my home or business?
You may contact any of the obliged energy retailers in South Australia, not just your current energy retailer, to find out what activities are being offered. Each energy retailer is likely to differ in what energy efficiency activities they will offer to customers and not all activities may be offered.
Many obliged energy retailers use the services of third-party contractors to undertake activities on their behalf and you may also contact those contractors directly to organise REES activities in your home or business.
Some third-party contractors may initiate their contact with energy customers through engaging in cold-calling and/or door-knocking activity. This method of customer contact is not prohibited under the REES and third-party contractors must clearly identify themselves to customers and wear an identification badge at all times.
Who can take part in the REES? Is it free?
The REES is available to all South Australian residential energy customers and many South Australian businesses.
Energy audits are generally provided free of charge to priority group households.
Many of the energy efficiency activities available are provided free of charge but there are some activities that may be provided at a cost to residential customers. It is advisable that you contact the obliged energy retailers directly for advice on any cost that may be involved with the energy efficiency activities provided to you.
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; or
(g) falls within a class of persons who are experiencing hardship determined or approved by the Minister or Commission for the purposes of these regulations.
For the purposes of subsection (g) above, the ‘class of persons’ includes residential customers who are actively participating in retailer hardship programs and residential customers who are participating in an energy retailer’s payment plan or receiving a referral from a registered member of the South Australian Financial Counsellors Association (SAFCA).
I rent, can I still take part in the REES?
As a resident of a rental property you may still be able to participate in the REES, although for most energy efficiency activities you may need to obtain the permission of the landlord or landlord’s agent before the products are installed.
I am a small business, can I participate in the REES?
Yes. Energy efficiency activities can be made available to many businesses through incentives provided by any obliged energy retailer. Some energy efficiency activities may be provided at a cost to business customers. Therefore, it is advised you contact each obliged energy retailer for advice on costs involved with any energy efficiency activities that may be provided.
Businesses cannot receive energy audits under the REES.
What are energy efficiency activities?
Energy efficiency activities may include the installation of efficient lighting products, low-flow showerheads, standby power controllers and ceiling insulation. There are a number of energy efficiency activities that may be offered by obliged energy retailers to residential and business customers.
Although 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 the types of energy efficiency activities and incentives they will offer. Each energy retailer is likely to differ in what energy efficiency activities they will offer to customers and not all activities may be offered.
What is an energy audit?
Energy audits help residential customers assess their current energy use and practices, compare usage to energy efficient practices and identify practical ways to be more energy efficient at home.
Who will come to my home or business?
Many obliged energy retailers use the services of third-party contractors to undertake energy audits and energy efficiency activities on their behalf and they may contact those contractors to organise energy efficiency activities or an energy audit in your home or business. Third-party contractors may also initiate contact with customers through cold-calling or door-knocking activity.
Here are the details of the current obliged energy retailers and third-party contractors relevant to South Australian energy customers.
How do I know that the person who comes to my house is legitimate?
The obliged energy retailers ensure that any representative or third-party contractor that visits you has the necessary qualifications and experience to undertake energy audits or energy efficiency activities.
All persons conducting energy audits or energy efficiency activities must wear an identification badge which includes the person’s name, photograph, the company they are representing and the 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 the person represents or the Commission.
Can I install the energy efficient products myself or arrange my own installer?
No. Most of the energy efficiency activities that may be available under the REES require obliged energy retailers to ensure that the products are installed correctly.
Can I choose which energy efficiency activities I can have?
The obliged energy retailer and/or its third-party contractor may recommend a range of energy efficiency activities that may potentially lower your energy bills through reduced energy consumption and that may also help achieve greenhouse gas reductions, however, you are not obliged to undertake any or all of the energy efficiency activities offered or recommended to you.
How long will the installation take?
The time required for each REES activity can differ. For information on the length of time of an energy audit, or the likely time required to undertake a particular energy efficiency activity, you should contact the obliged energy retailer offering the audit or activity.
Why do I need to sign a form if I have an energy audit or energy efficiency activity?
Under the REES, households and businesses that receive either an energy audit or an energy efficiency activity must confirm that the service has been completed in their household or business. When you sign the form you are confirming that the details on the form are true and correct to the best of your knowledge.
Why are my old light globes and showerheads etc, taken away after they are replaced?
Obliged energy retailers participating in the REES are required to ensure that the inefficient products they have replaced do not go back into circulation.
What if I don't like the changes made, can someone come back and remove them?
If you are not satisfied with the products provided you should contact the obliged energy retailer or the third-party contractor who completed the activity.
Who do I contact if there is a fault with a product that was installed under the REES?
In the first instance you should contact the obliged energy 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 the relevant contact details for those processes.
It is the retailer’s responsibility to ensure that all products are installed in accordance with its specification and any other installation requirements and that the products are operating correctly following installation. Standard product warranties apply.
If you are having difficulty contacting the provider please contact the Commission.
Can I upgrade my light globes and showerheads a second time under the REES?
A REES approved energy efficiency activity that involves the installation, removal, repair or upgrade of equipment in a premises may only be performed once in the premises, unless permitted in the activity’s specifications.
Obliged energy retailers and/or third-party contractors will determine if a customer may be eligible for further energy efficiency activities.
REES and third-party contractors
How do I become a third-party contractor?
Under the REES, third-party contractors are not accredited or registered with the Commission. In general, each individual obliged energy retailer negotiates contracts with third-party contractors in relation to provision of activities to be undertaken on their behalf in a REES year.