Solar hot water a welcome plus for low income households

6 June 2012

The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) has welcomed today’s announcement of additional resources for the Home Energy Saver Scheme (HESS).

HESS will assist households to better understand and manage energy use. New funds for investment in solar hot water systems are an excellent extension of the scheme that will allow households to take action to reduce energy costs.

Water heating is a significant contributor to energy bills. Many low income households use inefficient and expensive electric or gas systems. Solar water heating is priced out of range of many low income households. The HESS program will combine customised advice about energy efficiency with information about retail energy options and assistance to invest in energy saving products.

ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie said that “HESS is a good example of how the Clean Energy Future should work. It provides for the transition to clean energy services, support for local industry and assistance to households that can least afford change but will benefit most. The investment is long lasting, the savings go on.”

HESS commences from July. The program will be delivered through a national network of not-for-profit organisations. A new 1800 number and website will be available shortly.

Last year ACOSS worked with The Climate Institute and Choice to assess cost of living impacts arising from the introduction of a carbon price. Using independent consultants at CSIRO and AECOM, The Cost of Living project modelled price changes and the effects of assistance provided through reform of income support and taxation. Detailed reports and case studies can be found here.

The project also produced an online calculator at This site introduces some of the concepts behind a carbon price and computes the net effect of cost of living changes, energy efficiency measures and household assistance.

Media Contact: Fernando de Freitas 0419 626 155