icon-rees Public call for applications for new REES energy efficiency activities

  • Project Released: 01 Mar 2013
  • Project Closes: 12 Aug 2013
  • Contact: Mike Philipson


The Commission makes an annual public call for applications for new REES activities, including applications to vary or delete existing activities.  This process is currently underway for 2013, with a public call for applications made on 1 March 2013, which closes on 30 April 2013


Current status is Final

  • Initiate
  • Final


The Commission received two applications in response to the 2013 call for applications for new energy efficiency activities under REES.

In assessing applications for new energy efficiency activities, the Commission must have regard to the intentions of REES and the key principles and constraints set by the ministerial protocol for maintaining the list of Energy Efficiency Activities.

  • AGL Energy Limited - Energy Efficiency Campaign

According to the applicant:

“Provision of an ongoing Energy Efficiency Campaign.  The campaign promotes the use of behaviourally based tools which motivate, educate and assist customers to undertake behavioural and technology based energy efficiency activities….

The campaign will measure actual change in consumption for participants by identifying for each participant a base case consumption level and improvements above the base case.  This improvement will then be normalised against other like consumers in the area (to remove weather and general efficiency trends).  The resultant consumption change will have a deeming value to account for continuation of the improvement over the following years.”

REES was introduced to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy costs for South Australian households, and has a clear focus on achieving energy efficiency. The REES protocol currently precludes behaviour change activities that save energy through energy conservation rather than energy efficiency.  While the application provides limited specific detail, there appears to be a heavy focus in AGL’s proposed Energy Efficiency Campaign on participants reducing consumption and hence on conservation rather than energy efficiency.

The general principles for considering new activities for REES, set by the ministerial protocol for maintaining the list of Energy Efficiency Activities, include the requirement for consistency of the saving.  There should be a high level of confidence that the estimated savings could be achieved in a majority of circumstances, and should not predominately rely on human behaviour to realise the energy efficiency gain.  The Energy Efficiency Campaign relies heavily on participant interaction with the website and use of the tools provided.

The ministerial protocol also requires the Commission to have regard to activities and specifications eligible in similar schemes in other jurisdictions.  At this time, the Commission is not aware that any similar products to AGL’s Energy Efficiency Campaign have been approved in energy efficiency schemes in other Australian jurisdictions.  The application indicates that AGL is considering making similar applications to the Victorian and NSW schemes; the Commission would be happy to consider a further application should the Energy Efficiency Campaign be adopted by those schemes.

It is the Commission’s decision not to adopt the activity proposed at this time.

Details of any future calls for applications for new energy efficiency activities will be available on the Commissions website.

  • Power Eco Solutions - VPhase Voltage Optimiser

According to the applicant:

“A voltage optimiser is a piece of electronic equipment that reduces the incoming mains power from whatever the power utility provides (which varies, but can be up to 265V) to a lower quantity. The VPhase VX-1, VX-2 and VX-5 units that the applicant distributes produce a regulated output that is adjustable, but by default is 220V”.

The application included results of a UK field trial and laboratory testing of the VPhase voltage optimiser. These results showed a range of energy savings from appliances/devices other than thermostatically controlled resistive loads.

The Commission is concerned over the applicability of the UK trial observations and tests to the South Australian residential sector as there are significant differences to the mix of electrical devices used and their responsibility for total power usage. This makes it difficult to robustly verify the potential energy savings of installing voltage optimisers in South Australian homes. Also, the cost effectiveness of voltage optimisation cannot be accurately accessed without knowing the likely impact on an average South Australian home.

The science behind these devices, largely backed-up by the trial and test data, indicates that voltage optimisation will not be suitable for some residential homes because of the appliance mix, e.g. types of lighting and heating appliances used. The application did not include any information on how a home’s suitability for voltage optimisation would be assessed.

The Commission is keen to ensure consistency with regards to activities that are eligible in similar schemes in other state jurisdictions. The Commission notes that this device has not yet been approved for use in other Australian jurisdictions and that current published advice under the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target (VEET) scheme does not support its approval as a residential activity.

As REES is a government sponsored scheme and to maintain credibility of the scheme, it is imperative that there is robust evidence that a device will deliver reliable savings in South Australia. To achieve the level of verifiability required by the Commission, robust field trials applicable to the South Australian residential sector would be required.

It is the Commission’s decision not to adopt the activity proposed at this time.