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Victoria’s Gas Substitution Roadmap To Lower Utility Bills
Victorias Gas Subsituition Roadmap to lower utility bill

Victoria’s Gas Substitution Roadmap To Lower Utility Bills

Published on:
May 27, 2024

As gas prices keep going up, the Victorian Government is helping people in Victoria use less expensive gas, making it easier for families and businesses to manage their costs. 

The Gas Substitution Roadmap shows how Victoria will move from costly gas to cheaper and more modern electric appliances. Gas is not as cheap as it used to be – gas bills have gone up by over $500 for the average household in less than 2 years, which is a 35% increase. 

You can use the Victorian Energy Upgrades program to save money on your energy bills. Starting in the second half of 2024, this program offered discounts for people who want to replace their gas stoves with electric induction ones.  

It made the switch to electric appliances cheaper. If you switch everything to electric, you can save up to $1,700 a year, or even $2,700 a year with solar panels – which is a 60% reduction in your energy bills. 

By moving away from expensive gas, you will save on your energy bills and gas connection fees. Disconnecting from the gas network can save you up to $400 a year.

What is the Gas Substitution Roadmap?

The Roadmap is a plan for Victoria to use less fossil gas while keeping energy reliable and affordable. 

It focuses on investing in energy efficiency and using electricity instead of gas where possible, especially in homes. 

The plan aims to reduce the use of natural gas and switch to cleaner energy sources. 

It includes strategies to improve energy efficiency, encourage electric appliances, and develop renewable energy. The goal is to lower greenhouse gas emissions, reduce energy costs, and make energy more secure for people in Victoria. 

The Gas Substitution Roadmap helps the state reach net zero emissions, lower energy bills, and ensure reliable energy.  

Why Do We Need to Move Away from Fossil Gas?

Over 2 million people in Victoria use gas in their homes and businesses, more than in any other state or territory. 

The gas sector in Victoria causes about 17% of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions, so reducing these emissions is important. 

Even though Victoria produces and exports a lot of gas, switching from fossil gas to renewable energy is crucial for the future. We need to do this while ensuring energy stays reliable, safe, and affordable. 

Moving to all-electric homes lowers the need for gas and shields consumers from rising international gas prices. 

It also helps people in Victoria save money. New homeowners can save about $1,000 a year by using only electricity, and those with solar panels can save over $2,200 a year. 

Existing homes that switch from gas to electricity and add solar panels can save around $1,700 a year on energy bills, plus another $1,000 a year from using a 6.6 kW solar system. 

So, without further ado, let’s find out what aspects are impacted and related by Victoria’s gas substitution roadmap, which will ultimately reduce utility bills.  

Helping Victorians Switch to Electric Appliances

victorian gas phase out

The Government is working to support Victorians in switching to electric appliances when their old gas appliances need replacing, both in homes and some commercial buildings. 

The Government will conduct a Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) to determine the best way to do this. The RIS will involve detailed discussions with the industry and the public about the plan and its timing, which will happen in 2024. It won’t affect some industries, such as hospitality, large commercial, industrial, and manufacturing sectors. 

The Gas Substitution Roadmap (GSR) is helping our state reach net-zero emissions, offering more energy options and lower bills. 

The Department of Transport and Planning is implementing this roadmap in collaboration with the Department of Energy, Environment, and Climate Action. 

The GSR is part of a larger plan to support Victoria’s shift to clean energy. It includes changes to planning and building rules, such as higher standards for new homes and commercial buildings by 2025. 

Phasing Out New Residential Gas Connections

Starting January 1, 2024, new gas connections for new homes, apartment buildings, and residential subdivisions needing planning permits will be stopped. 

This policy has been put into place through amendment VC250 to the Victoria Planning Provisions and all planning schemes in Victoria. 

Victoria builds over 50,000 new homes each year, with about 40,000 connecting to the gas network. 

Stopping new gas connections is critical to reducing the use of fossil gas, cutting emissions, and avoiding costly gas infrastructure. 

The Victorian Government is taking solid steps to accelerate the transition to renewable energy and has set ambitious goals for cutting emissions.  

The aim is to cut emissions by 75-80% by 2035. In 2022-23, renewable sources made up 38% of Victoria’s electricity, showing the state’s dedication to a cleaner energy future. All-electric homes are cheaper to run and more environmentally friendly.  

Gas Substitution Roadmap

Energy Bill Relief for Renters

Renters will benefit from the Government’s review of the minimum energy efficiency standards for rental homes. Starting in 2024, this will include public input and examine things like ceiling insulation, drought-sealing, hot water, heating, and cooling. It will make rental homes more comfortable and cheaper to live in. 

Improving New Buildings

From January 1, 2024, new homes that need a planning permit must be all-electric. The Government will discuss whether this rule should apply to all new homes and some commercial buildings in the future.  

Working Toward a Cleaner, Cheaper, and Stronger Energy System

Victoria aims to have a cleaner, cheaper, and better energy system. It reached its 2020 goal of 25% renewable energy generation and is on track to achieve 95% renewable energy generation by 2035.  

Amendment VC250

Amendment VC250 was introduced on January 1, 2024, and it sets new rules for building new houses, apartments, and residential subdivisions that need a planning permit under clause 53.03. 

Clause 53.03: 

  • It stops permits from being granted to connect new houses, apartment buildings, or residential subdivisions to natural gas. 
  • Planning permits are required for these projects to include a condition ensuring no gas connections can be added after construction is finished. 
  • It applies only to natural gas, not to bottled or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), so new and existing homes can still use these gas sources. 

For more details on Amendment VC250, you can find additional information.  

Which Developments Will the Gas Connection Ban Affect?

The gas connection ban applies only to new planning permit applications submitted on or after January 1, 2024, for building new homes, new apartment buildings, or new residential subdivisions.  

New Dwelling:

A new building or part of a building is to be used as a home (not including a caretaker’s house), but it does not include changes or additions to an existing home. 

A new building or part of a building connected to an existing home is used as a separate home (not including a caretaker’s house) as long as it doesn’t include any part of the existing home’s main floor area. 

A new outbuilding or swimming pool is related to an existing or planned home as long as it is not within the main floor area of an existing home. This does not include new apartment buildings.  

New Apartment Development:

A new building or part of a building is designed to contain one or more apartments, with or without other uses. Still, it does not include changes, additions, or new apartments added to an existing apartment building.  

Which Developments Are Not Affected by the Gas Connection Ban?

The gas connection ban does not apply to: 

  • Any planning permit application submitted before January 1, 2024. 
  • Section 72 amends a permit if the original application was submitted before January 1, 2024. 

The ban does not affect these types of developments: 

  • Building a new house, outbuilding (like a garage), or swimming pool that doesn’t need a planning permit. 
  • Extending or altering an existing house or apartment, including adding new apartments to the development. 
  • Converting an existing outbuilding (like a garage) into a new house. 
  • Building a second house on a lot if it’s within the existing house’s main floor area. 
  • Installing gas infrastructure through easements on lots with existing houses or for new houses. 

If you need to check if your project is affected, please contact your local council. 

Gas connections in new residential areas:

Starting January 1, 2024, new housing areas applying for permits won’t be allowed to connect to natural gas. This rule applies to all lots, whether the house being built needs a planning permit or not. However, other types of buildings on these lots can still connect to gas. 

Existing homes or apartments, or lots with already granted permits, won’t be affected by this rule. 

For subdivisions built in stages, if the first permit was applied for before January 1, 2024, the whole subdivision can connect to gas, even if later stages are approved after this date. 

Approving a Precinct Structure Plan does not count as permission to divide land into lots. The gas connection ban applies to subdivision permit applications submitted on or after January 1, 2024. 

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