LPG can save Victorian families & businesses from massive costs
27 October 2023
VICTORIA'S ban on new residential gas connections does not apply to LPG and for good reason. LPG has a clear, commercially viable and relatively easy path to net zero and, ultimately, actual zero. Families and businesses can go on using and installing LPG, avoiding tens of thousands of dollars in switching to electricity, while being just as CO2-friendly.
"Electrification isn't the only option Victorian homeowners have," Gas Energy Australia CEO Brett Heffernan explained. "Over 356,000 Victorian families already rely on LPG for in-home cooking, hot water and heating, and growing year-on-year.
"Families on natural gas can easily and cost-effectively switch to LPG rather than electricity. The transition from natural gas to LPG, typically, requires minor changes by a licensed gasfitter. If, in rare cases, natural gas equipment cannot be made LPG-compliant, new LPG appliances retail for about half the price of electrical appliances and without the need to rewire homes.
"LPG will be an important complement to electrification, providing reliable, affordable and flexible energy. Wind and solar are disappointingly not meeting their targets. With coal exiting, renewable gases will be essential for homes, businesses and farms across the state, while taking pressure off the electricity grid.
"Going all-electric when LPG (through renewable bioLPG) will be net zero over the same timeframe as electricity, and actual zero synthetic renewable LPG available from the mid-2030s, could prove costly.
"Sticking with LPG or, indeed, switching to it, can save households and businesses tens of thousands of dollars on more expensive electrical appliances, retrofitting premises to suit or having to upgrade homes and buildings to phase three wiring to cope with new power loads.
"Power bills are not the whole story. The most efficient CO2 electrical appliances will set Victorian families back around $12,000 in upfront costs (appliance and installation), save a few hundred dollars over a year on bills, but would only reduce emissions by 9kg per week. That's about the volume of typical BBQ cylinder.
"In Victoria it would take homeowners 12 years to get a return on that investment. Faced with these costs, families might opt for cheaper, though less CO2 efficient, electrical appliances thinking they're doing the right thing. But emissions from these appliances are higher than gas. Switching from gas to low efficiency electrical appliances increases each Victorian home's emissions by a staggering 960kg per year.
"The gulf between rhetoric and reality is already dawning on many. Modelling by Frontier Economics has put the cost of switching to all-electric homes at some $42,000. Victorian families have told us they've been quoted not to expect change out of $50,000. In the ACT, we've been advised it runs to $55,000. One family in Canberra whose ducted gas heating system died, sought to replace it with an electric alternative. The quote was $20,000 due to all the hidden costs. Not surprisingly, they went with a new ducted gas unit.
"Some have suggested people can install electrical appliances as gas appliances reach their end of life. True. But that doesn't change the costs they will bear. Whether one-hit now or spread out over a few years, the appliance, install, retrofit and household upgrade to phase three wiring is the same massive slug. With these real-world costs, families will never get a return on their investment.
"Families and businesses need to do their homework to uncover the real costs they'd be up for, whether switching all now or bit-by-bit. It's likely to be a shock. Renewable LPG is a solution."
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