Frequently Asked Questions

General questions

What is the Energy Savings Scheme?

The Energy Savings Scheme reduces electricity consumption in NSW by creating financial incentives for organisations to invest in energy savings projects. Energy savings are achieved by Accredited Certificate Providers installing, improving or replacing energy savings equipment. Companies that become Accredited Certificate Providers can create energy savings certificates by carrying out these activities.  They can then sell the certificates to Scheme Participants who have an obligation under the Scheme to meet energy savings targets (which can be met by purchasing and surrendering certificates).

The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal of NSW (IPART) is both the Scheme Administrator and Scheme Regulator. 

 See     Roles in the Scheme

What is the ESS Rule?

The Energy Savings Scheme Rule of 2009 or the ESS Rule sets out how energy saving certificates can be created and prescribes:

  • Types of eligible activities
  • Types of ineligible activities
  • Eligible applicants
  • Detailed calculation methodologies.

The guidance material available on this website assists stakeholders to understand the requirements of the ESS Rule.  The guidance is not a substitute for the ESS Rule and project proponents are advised to familiarise themselves with the requirements of the ESS Rule.

See      Framework and Rules

Can the ESS Rule be changed?

Yes. The Rule is amended from time to time. Rule changes occur to keep the Scheme up to date and to manage changes in the market and the emergence of new technologies.

If you would like to provide feedback about the ESS Rule, you should contact the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE).

When does the Energy Savings Scheme finish?

The Energy Savings Scheme is legislated to run until 2025 or until there is an equivalent national energy efficiency scheme. 

How does the Energy Savings Scheme work with the Emissions Reduction Fund?

The legislation covering the Energy Savings Scheme states that it will run until 2025 or until there is an equivalent national energy efficiency scheme.

The Commonwealth Government’s Emissions Reduction Fund will fund emission abatement activities across all sectors of the Australian economy and is supporting energy efficiency activities in NSW.

The NSW Government supports the continuation of the Energy Savings Scheme in parallel with the Emissions Reduction Fund (refer to the Energy Savings Scheme Statutory Review). To ensure that the schemes are complementary to each other, energy efficiency projects that access the Energy Savings Scheme are not eligible for financial incentives under the Emissions Reduction Fund (and vice versa).

Who is IPART?

IPART is the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal of NSW. IPART is the Scheme Administrator and the Scheme Regulator for the Energy Savings Scheme.

In carrying out these roles, IPART's responsibilities include:

  • Assessing applications and accrediting applicants to become Accredited Certificate Providers
  • Managing compliance of existing Accredited Certificate Providers and Scheme Participants 
  • Amending accreditation conditions
  • Managing the website, the ESS and ELT Portals, and the Registry.
Who are Scheme Participants?

Scheme Participants include

  • Electricity retailers
  • Direct suppliers of electricity
  • Market customers.

See List of Scheme Participants

I am already accredited under the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target scheme, can I transfer this accreditation to the Energy Savings Scheme?

No. The two schemes are regulated by different state governments and accreditations are not transferable between schemes. Applicants need to apply to IPART to become accredited in the ESS.

What activities are eligible under the scheme and what are excluded?

The broad requirement is that an activity must reduce energy consumption without reducing production levels or quality of service.  Specifically, eligibility can be defined as either:

  • Modifying End-User Equipment
  • Modifying usage of End-User Equipment
  • Replacing End-User Equipment
  • Installing new End-User Equipment
  • Removing End-User Equipment.

Installing T5 adaptor kits, retrofitting LED linear lamps and activities that are eligible to create Renewable Energy Certificates are not eligible under the ESS.

See Eligible activities

Does it matter where the activities are undertaken?

The activities must be undertaken at a site in New South Wales. The ESS Rule specifies additional requirements that limit some methods to commercial premises and other methods to residential premises.

How do I know if a business is actually accredited to create certificates?

Information about all Accredited Certificate Providers is publically available and can be found on the Registry by logging on as a guest user. The information on the Registry includes what activities the Accredited Certificate Providers are accredited to undertake and how many certificates they have created for each.

See Registry           

You can also check the List of Accredited Certificate Providers and certificates which is updated on a weekly basis.

How do I find an Accredited Certificate Provider to create certificates on my behalf?

Accredited Certificate Providers can be found by searching the ESS Registry.

See Registry       

You can also check the list of Accredited Certificate Providers and activities. This is a list of providers who have nominated themselves as 'aggregators', willing to work with you to help bring your energy savings into the scheme.

You can also check the List of Accredited Certificate Providers which is updated on a weekly basis.

Can the sale of energy efficient products create certificates?

Sales programs are only eligible under the Sale of New Appliances calculation method. Under this method, each product is assigned deemed equipment energy savings based on appliance type, capacity and star rating.  High efficiency versions of the following equipment are included in this method:

  • Clothes washers and dryers 
  • Dishwashers 
  • Refrigerators and freezers 
  • Televisions.

See Sale of New Appliances

What are the requirements for participating in the Scheme?

To participate directly in the Energy Savings Scheme you will need to become accredited as an Accredited Certificate Provider.  Once you are accredited you may be able to create, register and sell energy savings certificates with respect to energy savings activities.

See Eligible activities

See Apply for accreditation   

Is this a rebate scheme?

No. This is a certificate trading scheme where 1 certificate = 1 notional MWh of energy saved. Certificates can be created by Accredited Certificate Providers, who may sell the certificates to Scheme Participants, such as electricity retailers, who have an obligation to meet an energy savings target each year.

There are no direct rebates offered by the Energy Savings Scheme. However, some Accredited Certificate Providers may use some of the revenue they generate from certificates to offer either rebates or discounted products to customers.

See Your Energy Savings if you are interested in rebate schemes

Is the Energy Savings Scheme active in the Australian Capital Territory as well as New South Wales?

This Scheme is only active in New South Wales. However, similar schemes are in operation in some of the other states and territories. The NSW Government is engaged in ongoing discussions with other jurisdictions with energy efficiency schemes to align activities and reduce red tape. An outcome of the ESS Review in 2014 was amending the Minister’s powers regarding corresponding schemes to enable a staged process to harmonise the ESS with other state based energy efficiency schemes. This may enable certain ESS functions to be used in other jurisdictions.

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