Success sees electric program continue

Geelong Sustainability chief executive Dan Cowdell. (Louisa Jones) 409298_07

A local program aimed at helping households save money through transitioning from gas to electricity will continue in 2024 after far exceeding expectations last year.

Geelong Sustainability’s 2023 Electric Homes Program assisted 318 households in the region install products such as hot water heat pumps and solar and battery systems, with participants estimated to collectively save over $200,000 annually.

The environmental impact of the program was also far greater than expected, with the participating households reducing their carbon dioxide emissions by 770 tonnes per year.

With the release of the results last week, Geelong Sustainability announced preparations for the 2024 Efficient Electric Homes Program were already underway.

Geelong Sustainability chief executive Dan Cowdell said he was “over the moon” with both the interest from the community and the results of the 2023 program.

“We had over 1500 people come along to the information sessions that we ran across the region, from Queenscliff all the way out to Colac and Apollo Bay, so it was really region-wide,” Mr Cowdell said.

“I think people are beginning to get a bit fed up with the winter gas bill particularly, which can be a bit of a shock.

“The outcomes speak for themselves in terms of dollars saved for households… and for us, the environmental impact is the real great outcome. It’s the equivalent of taking 183 cars off the road permanently, which is a huge endeavour.”

“It has really demonstrated that when you do these… relatively easy changes, (such as) switching your gas heater to an efficient electric heater, there are really tangible benefits for doing so.”

Mr Cowdell said he also felt very proud to make donations to the Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative as part of the program, with 44 solar panels and six hot water systems going to families through the Co-operative.

While the 2023 program focused on the installation of big ticket items such as heating systems and solar, Mr Cowdell said the 2024 program would also include more holistic efficiency measures.

“We’re hoping to expand the program so it includes things like insulation upgrades and draft-proofing to seal up gaps and cracks,” he said.

“That’s a really important first step to reducing your energy use while still going ahead with the bigger upgrades.”

Residents can go to to register their interest for the 2024 program.