Five energy providers in Victoria have paid a collective fine worth $1 million for allegedly failing to meet their energy efficiency requirements in the state.
Click Energy, Red Energy, Lumo Energy, M2 Energy and Weston Energy were fined by Victoria’s independent energy regulator, the Essential Services Commission (ESC), for surrendering the incorrect number of energy efficiency certificates in 2021. These certificates were required under the Victorian Energy Upgrades (VEU) program.
The VEU program is funded by energy providers and helps households and small businesses to reduce their energy bills and greenhouse gas emissions by allowing them to access discounted energy efficient appliances and services.
Under the program, providers are required to share certificates to the volume of electricity and natural gas they sold in that year.
In 2021, the ESC noted that between 164 to 7,355 energy efficiency certificates were missing per affected retailer in the program.
Acting Commission Chairperson Sitesh Bhojani said the VEU program was an important contributor to reaching the state’s legislated net zero emissions goal by 2050.
“This program is vital to Victoria’s push to cut greenhouse gas emissions,” Mr Bhojani said. “The legislation is clear that energy retailers operating in our state must do their bit to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“The commission’s decision to issue these shortfall penalties is a reminder to the sector of its obligations to contribute to critical emissions reduction initiatives that benefit all Victorians.”
Red Energy received the largest portion of the fine, with $514,850 paid for 7,355 missing certificates. This was followed by Weston Energy with $263,480, Red Energy’s sister company, Lumo Energy with $110,950, Click Energy with $63,420 and M2 Energy rounding out the pack with $11,480.
The ESC did state in its review however, that the shortfall in certificates in all cases appeared to be as a result of genuine auditing errors, not fraudulent behaviour.
The VEU program first began in the state in 2009. According to the ESC, millions of inefficient energy products have been replaced in Victorian households and businesses during this time as a result of the program.