16 December 2016

From the GEMS Regulator

It’s that time of year again when thoughts inevitably drift towards a summer break with family and friends. Before we head off, though, let’s reflect on what the E3 Program has achieved in 2016. 

With Minister Frydenberg’s release of the E3 Prioritisation Plan, our work program focussed on policy development and regulation of products that will deliver the most benefits, including improved energy productivity, lowering greenhouse gas emissions, and reducing energy costs.

This focus allowed us to accelerate the release of consultation Regulation Impact Statements (RISs) on four of our six priority areas during 2016 - lighting, swimming pool pumps, air conditioning and chillers, and refrigerated storage and display cabinets. The quality of this work to date reflects the strong engagement of our industry stakeholders. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to talk to us, and I encourage your continuing involvement and feedback. 

Our efforts to align internationally continued with Australia’s appointment as Chair of the International Energy Agency’s Technology Collaboration Programme on Energy Efficient End-Use Equipment (4E). And domestically, we established the Energy Efficiency Advisory Team under the COAG Energy Council.

Our regulatory functions under the GEMS Act have been the focus of continuous improvement, informed by the first stakeholder satisfaction survey which recorded an overall satisfaction rate of 77 per cent. During 2016, the Energy Rating Team met or exceeded its target timeframes with over 5000 applications for registration and 1100 enquiries. We also continued to improve registration processes, with the website now fully accessible for users with a disability and guidance material for registrants developed in Chinese as well as English. Work also began on the first review of registration fees charged under the GEMS Act, to be completed in early 2017.   

We continued efforts to monitor and enforce compliance with the GEMS Act. GEMS inspectors regularly engaged with the regulated community to ensure an awareness of GEMS Act requirements via market surveillance and attendance at various industry fora. During 2015/16 check tests, which ensure compliance with GEMS level requirements, were finalised on 104 models of 12 GEMS products. GEMS inspectors also surveyed 2,768 products of models, conducting an average of five market surveillance ‘inspections’ each month during 2015/16 to ensure compliance with GEMS registration and labelling requirements. 

To help consumers choose more energy efficient products, we launched two mobile apps during 2016 - the Light Bulb Saver app and the Energy Rating Calculator app.  We developed and launched an online training package for retail staff to advise their customers on energy efficient options, and continued efforts to expand the reach of the Energy Rating Icon into online shopping websites.

In 2016, New Zealand celebrated its highest ever annual energy savings from products covered by the E3 Program.  Since it was introduced there in 2002, the program has delivered savings of NZD$691 million in national benefit, 27.9 PJ and 1.0MT CO2-e. It was also a good year for trans-Tasman co-operation on compliance matters, with several joint stakeholder visits taking place on both sides of the Tasman, and a particular focus on electric motors and commercial refrigeration.

It has certainly been a busy year for the E3 Program with the pace likely to continue as we move into 2017.  I extend my best wishes to all and trust that you enjoy a peaceful and relaxing break over the holiday season.

Michelle CrokerGEMS Regulator