Victorian households may soon be able to access a $2,600 rebate to swap gas heating for electric alternatives as part of the state government’s new plan to phase-out gas.
Households would be able to access the discount if they replaced ducted gas heating systems and evaporative cooling systems with efficient, electric reverse cycle heating and cooling systems.
The government also flagged $300 rebates to replace gas hot water systems for heat pump hot water systems as part of the Gas Substitution Roadmap released on Saturday.
As part of the shift away from gas, the government also intends to phase-out incentives for residential gas products by 2023.
The government would provide the new incentives through the Victorian Energy Upgrades program, which already offers discounted energy-efficient products and services to households and businesses.
Victorians are Australia's biggest gas users, with 2 million homes and businesses reliant on the fossil fuel.
Gas is responsible for around 17 per cent of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions.
The roadmap outlined a plan to transition the state away from gas via electrification, improved energy efficiency and the using hydrogen and biomethane to help reduce bills and cut carbon emissions.
Energy Minister Lily D'Ambrosio said gas was historically the cheapest source of fuel for Victorian homes but that was no longer the case.
“While our state currently processes more than enough gas for its own needs, it’s getting too expensive, because Victorians are at the mercy of private companies exporting gas overseas, which has a real impact on the cost to Victorians at home,” D’Ambrosio said.
Moving away from gas would save people money, according to the roadmap.
An all-electric new home with solar panels, for example, could save Victorians thousands of dollars each year on their bills, according to the government’s modelling.
Freja Leonard from Friends of the Earth Melbourne said the roadmap was a step in the right direction but more needed to be done.
"At a time when Victorians are paying twice as much for gas as we did last year and the world is feeling the impacts of climate change, we need to stop a single new gas connection being made and support Victorian homes and businesses to rapidly move to an all-electric, post-gas energy system," she said.
Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association acting chief executive Damian Dwyer warned the plan would push consumers onto coal.
"In Victoria, more than 60 per cent of electricity is still generated using higher emissions brown coal, and as has been made abundantly clear in the last month, renewables are simply not yet at high enough penetration to shoulder the load," he said.