Briefing paper: Gas-free suburbs for Geelong

New homes in Geelong $900 cheaper to run without a gas connection, report finds

Geelong families could save $900 per year on energy bills by choosing a new home that doesn’t have a gas connection and opting for all-electric appliances instead, new research has found.

But households are currently locked out of these savings because Victorian planning regulations force new housing developments to connect to the gas network, increasing energy bills and climate pollution.

The report, Gas-free Suburbs for Geelong, is published by Renew and Environment Victoria. It finds:

  • For a 6-Star rated home without solar in Geelong, choosing to be all-electric without a gas connection saves $905 per year on energy bills
  • For a 7-Star rated home with solar and more efficient appliances in Geelong, choosing to be all-electric without a gas connection saves $814 per year
  • Choosing the most efficient all-electric home with solar can save $1901 per year compared with the basic, less efficient home with gas
  • Victorian regulations are forcing many new homes to connect to the gas network, increasing household energy bills and emissions
  • As a result, the Victorian gas network is expanding, tipping money into gas pipes that are likely to become stranded assets and creating pressure for environmentally destructive new gas supply projects, such as the Viva Energy gas import terminal proposal for Corio Bay

Renew Sustainable Housing Advocate Rob McLeod said:

“Not only is gas an expensive fuel, but the costs of the gas connection and regular fees can really add up. Choosing to be all-electric can give families a significant saving on their home energy bills.”

“We looked at these costs specifically for the Geelong area. Comparing a basic house in Geelong with gas appliances versus electric appliances, the all-electric house saves about $900 per year. If you then make that house more efficient and add solar, you’re looking at savings of up to $1901 per year, cutting bills by 75%.

“Even better, putting those savings into your mortgage could reduce a home loan by two years.”

Environment Victoria Acting Campaigns Manager Greg Foyster said:

“For decades government programs have encouraged Victorian homes to connect to gas, locking households into a polluting and increasingly expensive fuel.

“Some of those programs have ended but there are still hidden subsidies for the gas industry through regulations that force many new homes to get a gas connection even though they’d be better off without one.

“As a result, the Victorian gas network keeps expanding and that’s creating pressure for damaging new projects like Viva Energy’s proposed gas import terminal near Geelong, which raises serious environmental and safety concerns.

“These outdated planning regulations need to change, paving the way for Geelong’s first gas-free suburbs which will leave households and the environment better off.”

Read the full report: Gas-free suburbs for Geelong