Economics of gas/electric appliances

November 30, 2014

Is gas still a cheap energy to use at home? Under what circumstances should you consider switching from gas to efficient electric appliances? These are some of the questions posed and answered in Renew’s, formerly the Alternative Technology Association, major new report Are We Still Cooking with Gas?

The aim of the national report, funded by the Consumer Advocacy Panel, is to understand the impacts of anticipated retail gas prices on households and to identify cost-effective alternatives.

The new liquefied natural gas (LNG) export market from eastern Australia is pushing up retail prices for domestic gas, a situation that is expected to worsen in coming years and make gas less affordable for many people.

At the same time, improvements in the efficiency of some electric appliances, particularly for space heating and hot water, now make them cheaper to run than efficient gas appliances.

Among the findings, the report concluded that it was not cost-effective to connect a new home to mains gas when efficient electric appliances were an option, while in existing homes the economics of switching from gas appliances to efficient electric was best in warmer states like South Australia, Queensland and parts of NSW.

In Victoria, despite the State Government’s $100 million program to roll out the gas network in regional and rural areas, the report found homes would be better off with electricity and efficient electric appliances.

Damien Moyse, Renew’s policy and projects manager, urged people to make informed decisions based on efficiency and sustainability.

“This is a major piece of research that is exhaustive and months in the making. In fact, it’s the first detailed research that considers the impact of future gas price rises on residential households in Australia.

“Our advice to households is to do your research when your next gas appliance needs to be replaced and don’t simply assume that gas is the cheapest option – you may be locking yourself into higher prices for a long time to come.”

Renew is Australia’s leading not-for-profit organisation promoting sustainable living.

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