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GREEN ENERGY / POWER SAVE

Oz Consumers Don't Know Where To Begin Saving Energy

By Marie Jones | Wednesday | 03/11/2010

The author of a new report on energy management has slammed the Government for not educating consumers on how they can save energy and reduce both costs and their carbon footprint, after a survey of 2700 households revealed Australians have little knowledge on energy saving government incentives such as Green Star Building ratings, the Green Loans Scheme or where to begin saving energy.

Many consumers also don't know what smart metering is. Nearly half the survey respondents in Victoria, where the smart metering scheme is being rolled out, have never even heard of it.

The new study, released by Connection Research, polled 2700 households in Australia, and quizzed them about energy saving technologies in general. The report, Residential Energy Management in Australia 2010, showed that most consumers are willing to participate in energy saving initiatives, but are unsure where to begin.

"Householders these days are well aware of the rising cost of energy in coming years, and are very willing do whatever they need to reduce their energy consumption through conservation schemes run by the government," says Max Philipson, Research Manager and co-author of the report.

"Whether it is to save energy or just save money, people are keen to be involved in these schemes. But not many do so, because they don't know enough about them," he said.

Philipson adds that incentives such as the Solar Panel rebate and Insulation rebate have gone unnoticed because information about them is lacking, and more than half the survey respondents have not even heard of incentives such as Green Star Buildings ratings, NABERS ratings, or the Green Loans scheme.

Some of the more publicised energy reduction schemes are well known, but have low participation rates. This suggests that while residents might hear about energy saving schemes, they don't know how to participate in them. Nearly a third of the respondents say that the biggest reason they don't participate in energy saving schemes is that they don't know enough about them.

Consumers also have little knowledge of many home saving features that are common in other western countries, such as Smart Meters and Time-of-Use Tariffs. The attempted Smart Meter roll out in Victoria did little to educate people, as two thirds of Victorian respondents still don't know what smart metering is, and nearly half these have never even heard of it.

Time-of-use tariffs, where a household pays different rates for their electricity depending on what time of day it is, are just as unfamiliar to Australians. Just over a third of respondents do not know what they are.

The report finds that most Australians rely on the government and their energy utility for most of their information regarding energy saving initiatives. After that, people would rather listen to the media. "The government needs to start educating people on the benefits of these schemes if it expects people to join," Mr Philipson says. "The government and utilities are the experts here - they need to give their expert advice.

"With all the talk about energy management and reducing the carbon footprint in the last few years, people are unsure of the best way to do so. Too much talk and not enough action has resulted in a nation that is waiting for their government to act decisively, and tell them exactly what they need to do to save on energy costs," added Philipson

 

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