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.
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.
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).
The Energy Savings Scheme is legislated to run until 2050 or until there is an equivalent national energy efficiency scheme.
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).
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.
Scheme Participants include
- Electricity retailers
- Direct suppliers of electricity
- Market customers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You can also check the List of Accredited Certificate Providers and certificates which is updated on a weekly basis.
Accredited Certificate Providers can be found by searching the ESS 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.
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
- Refrigerators and freezers
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.
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
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.
Energy Savings Certificates, or ESCs (pronounced "esky"), are tradeable certificates created under the Energy Savings Scheme.
ESCs represent energy savings arising from a recognised energy saving activity. One ESC represents one notional Megawatt hour (MWh) of energy saved.
Only Accredited Certificate Providers (ACPs) can create ESCs. ACPs can only create ESCs from recognised energy savings activities for which they are accredited for.
Scheme Participants purchase ESCs and surrender them to the Scheme Regulator to meet obligations they have under the Scheme.
More information about how ESCs are registered, transferred and surrendered is available on the ESS Registry and ESS Portal page.
Only Accredited Certificate Providers (ACPs) can create Energy Savings Certificates.
ACPs can only create certificates from recognised energy savings activities for which they are accredited for.
Further information is available on the How to be involved page, including:
- Applying to become an ACP or
- Working with an existing ACP.
The price of a certificate varies depending on market conditions.
IPART is not involved in the sale or trade of Energy Savings Certificates (ESCs) and is unable to advise how to sell certificates. Contracts to sell ESCs occur independently of IPART and outside of the ESS Registry.
Further information on prospective buyers, ESC pricing and sale of ESCs is available on the Energy Savings Certificates page.
Once the application is accepted as lodged (the application is complete and the application fee has been received) an Analyst will be assigned to assess your application. If you have not provided a complete application as requested in the application guide, we will not accept the application as lodged and will not invoice the application fee. We will request that you revise the material and re-submit at a later date.
Once the Analyst has all the information they need, they will assess your application. If the Analyst identifies information gaps in your application they will send you a Request for Further Information. This request should be addressed promptly to avoid delays in processing. Following this assessment, your application will be considered by the Scheme Administrator (the ESS Committee or the Tribunal, as the case may be) who will make a decision. We will then advise you of the decision in writing.
The application process typically takes up to three months once the application is accepted as lodged if the application package is complete and contains the required information.
There is no guarantee an applicant will be accredited. An applicant has to demonstrate to the Scheme Administrator that all the requirements have been met before it can become an Accredited Certificate Provider, if not the Scheme Administrator may refuse the application.
There is an application fee which needs to be paid with each application.
An application fee for the registration of energy savings certificates for each certificate needs to be paid when registering certificates. Certificates can only be traded once this fee has been paid.
Accredited Certificate Providers are typically required to commission and pay for audit's. The costs depend on the scope of work, the type of audit and the nature of the energy savings activities.
The costs may also vary depending on the certiﬁcate volume, and compliance history.
You can only create energy savings certificates for projects that were implemented after you are accredited. If you are being nominated as the energy saver, you must be nominated as at the implementation date.
As an Accredited Certificate Provider you are obliged to implement your energy savings activity in accordance with the Act, Regulation and the ESS Rule. You must also comply with any conditions of accreditation specified in your Accreditation Notice.
In broad terms, these obligations will typically include keeping records as described in your approved record keeping arrangements, arranging for audits of your energy savings projects and advising IPART if there are any changes to your business or energy savings projects.
The Energy Saver is defined in each calculation method. This may be one of the following:
The purchaser of the upgrade or equipment (most methods)
The person contractually liable to pay for the energy consumption at the site where the energy saving activity occurs (Metered Baseline Method)
The person on the NABERS Rating Certificate (NABERS Method)
The appliances retailer (Sale of New Appliances)
The person contracted to remove the equipment (Removal of Old Appliances).
See the method guides for each Calculation Method for more information.
The Energy Saver may nominate an Accredited Certificate Provider to be the Energy Saver for the purposes of creating energy savings certificates. The nomination must be made in a form and manner approved by the Scheme Administrator and there are nomination forms available for each method from the ‘method’ pages of the ESS website.
Please note that a nomination cannot be made more than once for the same energy savings and it needs to be made after an Accredited Certificate Provider is successfully accredited, but before the implementation takes place.
The agreement made between the Energy Saver and their nominee is outside of IPART’s role in the ESS. However, it is required that the Energy Saver is aware of the ESS and does not provide any false or misleading information when signing the nomination form.
Under this method, energy savings can be calculated using an engineering assessment that typically includes measured data and industry recognised calculations. This method is commonly used where energy savings are small compared to the overall site consumption, or data for a site’s past energy consumption is unavailable.
This method can be used for residential, commercial or industrial sites and allows you to forward create certificates for 5 years with a discount, or to claim the energy savings on an annual basis.
The Project Impact Assessment Method is now closed to new applicants. However, new applicants are instead able to apply under the Project Impact Assessment with Measurement and Verification Method.
The Project Impact Assessment with Measurement and Verification Method was introduced in 2014. Under this method, energy savings are calculated using a ‘measurement and verification’ approach which is ‘signed off’ by a Measurement and Verification Professional. Energy savings certificates can be forward created for up to 10 years, or created annually.
Under this method, energy savings are calculated based on actual measured energy consumption before and after an activity has been implemented.
This method is typically used where energy savings result in a significant reduction in a site’s electricity consumption, and energy consumption data is available. This method has five sub-methods:
Baseline per unit of output
Baseline unaffected by output
National Australian Building Environment Rating System (NABERS)
Aggregated Metered Baseline.
See NABERS Baseline
The Deemed Energy Savings Method contains a number of sub-methods to calculate energy savings from a range of common energy saving activities. Under this method, energy savings are calculated using default factors and equations provided in Clause 9 of the ESS Rule. Sub-methods include:
- Sale of New Appliances calculates energy savings from the sale of high efficiency household appliances such as fridges, freezers, clothes dryers and televisions
- Commercial Lighting Energy Savings Formula determines the energy savings by calculating the difference between the consumption of the original and upgraded lighting equipment. This method uses default values and typically allows the forward creation of 10 years of energy savings
- High Efficiency Motor Energy Savings Formula assigns default energy savings to certain upgrades of efficient motors and is based on the type of industry
- Power Factor Correction Energy Savings Formula allows you to create certificates for improvements to a site's power factor using standard equations.
- Removal of Old Appliances provides a way to calculate energy savings from the removal of old, or spare, refrigerators and freezers
- Home Energy Efficiency Retrofits provides for a range of energy efficient solutions to improve overall energy efficiency of residential buildings. It includes activities such as replacing inefficient lighting, draught proofing external doors, windows and chimneys, replacing thermally inefficient windows and installing window glazing
- Installation of High Efficiency Appliances is used to calculate energy savings from the installation of high efficiency commercial refrigeration and air conditioning systems.
The Scheme Administrator does not approve products. The Scheme Administrator accepts products for use by an Accredited Certificate Provider with respect to a specific energy savings project. For the Scheme Administrator to accept an ELT it must be confident that the products comply with the relevant safety and performance standards. The Accredited Certificate Provider or applicant will need to provide evidence to the Scheme Administrator that the product meets all of the requirements so they can be confident that the claimed energy savings will actually occur and service levels will be maintained.
IPART publishes a list of accepted lighting products that meet the requirements of the ESS Rule. Accredited Certificate Providers are able to use products listed on the public list. You do not need to provide the relevant documents for products on this list.
Test reports submitted to IPART need to be from an accredited laboratory or equivalent.
IPART is not involved in any testing or certification of products but relies on reports from accredited bodies.
Audits are conducted to protect the integrity of the scheme by verifying that certificates represent real energy savings.
IPART takes a risk based approach when determining the audit requirements for each energy savings project. The Compliance Guide outlines IPART’s typical approach to setting audit requirements. Your accreditation notice will specify the audit requirements for your activity.
The cost depends on the scope of work, the type of audit and the nature of the energy savings activity. IPART reviews the scope of work prior to the auditor commencing the audit.
Audit costs may vary considerably depending on the number of certificates included in the audit, the compliance history of the Accredited Certificate Provider, whether a phone survey or on-site audits are necessary and the availability of the auditors.
The requirement to engage an auditor to conduct an audit may apply whether or not you have created Energy Savings Certificates.
As long as you remain an Accredited Certificate Provider, you are required to comply with the Electricity Supply Act 1995, the Electricity Supply (General) Regulation 2014, the ESS Rule and the conditions of your accreditation, regardless of whether you are creating Energy Savings Certificates.
In some cases, the Scheme Administrator may consider waiving an audit requirement where no certificates have been created.
Energy efficiency upgrades of residential homes such as replacing downlights with energy efficient LEDs
The purchase of energy efficient appliances that consume less electricity than the average appliance of the same type.
The ESS is a NSW Government initiative, however, the delivery of the program is performed by businesses referred to as Accredited Certificate Providers, or ACPs. The services and products offered by ACPs will differ because they are operating within a free market. You should shop around to ensure that you are getting the best deals on products or services.
The role of the NSW Government is to set energy efficiency targets and provide the governance framework for the program through the legislation.
If you have a query about ACPs or the governance of the program, please contact IPART by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have a question about the products or services covered by the program, please visit the Energy NSW website at energy.nsw.gov.au.
Businesses that are accredited under the ESS to perform the residential activities as detailed on the Energy Savings Calculation methods page. These businesses may be able to provide discounted energy savings services or products to residential customers. Accredited businesses are called Accredited Certificate Providers, or ACPs.
An ACP may offer residential activities themselves or it may contract the work to third party installers, such as electricians or air conditioning technicians.
ACPs can provide more information on the specific products and services they deliver.
ACPs and their representatives are not employees or representatives of the NSW Government.
You can find an Accredited Certificate Provider by searching for companies that provide residential activities on our list of Accredited Certificate Providers and activities. These are providers who have nominated themselves as 'aggregators', willing to work with you to help bring your energy savings into the scheme.
The list includes details for the ACPs websites where you can find more information on what products or services they offer.
Energy efficiency upgrades: You will have to pay at least $30 (excluding GST) towards the cost of an energy efficiency upgrade in your home. This includes the cost of the products, installation, site assessment and other associated works carried out by the ACP (or its representatives). This payment must be made before the upgrade is completed and cannot be reimbursed to you. Additional costs may be charged by the ACP depending on the type and size of the upgrade.
Purchase of energy efficient appliances: You will have to pay the purchase cost of an energy efficient appliance which is determined by the appliances retailer.
No, the ESS is a certificate trading scheme rather than a rebate scheme. However, ACPs may provide you with discounted services or a ‘rebate’ as a result of their participation in the ESS. This is made possible through the creation and trade of Energy Savings Certificates by ACPs for the energy saving projects they deliver. ACPs may state that they provide a rebate, but this is a rebate from the ACP, not the NSW Government.
No, ACPs are privately owned or publicly listed businesses. They are not from the NSW Government but they must be accredited by us in order to create Energy Savings Certificates from the projects or services they deliver.
ACPs may use door knockers or telemarketers to promote their services. You do not have to let anyone into your house if you do not want to. You should always ask to see the identification of anyone that contacts you about performing work in your home. Identification information should include the person’s name, the name of the accredited business they work with and the business address.
Refer to the Registry or our List of Accredited Certificate Providers on our website to check if a business is accredited under the ESS.
See the question “Who can offer residential energy efficiency activities?” above for details.
You do not need to allow anyone into your home and you do not need to agree to any offers that an ACP makes.
Contacting consumers via door-knocking is not permitted:
Weekdays – before 9am or after 6pm
Saturday – before 9am or after 5pm
On Sunday or a public holiday.
However, a supplier or agent may visit a consumer at any time if the appointment has been made with the consumer’s consent.
Other things to note are that door-to-door salespeople need to:
Give a 10-day cooling-off period
Disclose their purpose and identity
Cease to negotiate on request and inform consumers of their termination rights.
If you have experienced an aggressive door-knocker, there are a number of options you can pursue to make a complaint. Firstly, you can contact the business directly and advise them about the behaviour you have experienced. If you are still unsatisfied, contact NSW Fair Trading on 13 32 20 or see www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au.
No, your participation is voluntary. You do not have to accept any offers made by ACPs or their representatives. The NSW Government does not require households to upgrade their homes to be more energy efficient.
Like any other type of consumer decision making, you should shop around to ensure that you are receiving the right type of product or upgrade at a competitive price. An energy efficient upgrade can also be performed by a business that does not participate in the ESS.
As the householder, you are the ‘original energy saver’ ie, you benefit from the energy savings. The ACP must be nominated by you (the original energy saver) in order to create certificates for those energy savings. A nomination can only be made once for the same upgrade and must be made before the job starts.
The installation of equipment must be performed by the ACP or their representative. This is to ensure that licensed and trained technicians install the equipment correctly and safely.
Removed or replaced equipment cannot be reused, resold or refurbished and must be appropriately disposed of by ACPs. This is to ensure that the old energy inefficient equipment is not used somewhere else after it is removed or replaced with new equipment.
You should take all due care to ensure that an energy efficiency upgrade at your property meets your needs. You should approach working with an ACP as you would approach working with any other contractor who has access to your property.
If you are not happy with the quality of work, or require more information, speak to your ACP. If you are unhappy with their response, or are concerned that the ACP or its representative has not complied with the requirements of the ESS, you can contact the ESS team by email at ESS_Compliance@ipart.nsw.gov.au.
Also, NSW Fair Trading advises business and traders on fair and ethical practice. They investigate unfair practices and ensure that the products sold in NSW are safe and meet the relevant regulations and safety standards. More information about your rights as a consumer and how you can make a complaint is available on their website: www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au.
It is the decision of individual ACPs whether they continue their programs while the ESS is in operation. The ESS ends in 2025.
No, if you were not nominated by the third party at the time the upgrade was implemented.
There are two key eligibility requirements that must be met to be able to claim ESCs:
(a) The Accredited Certificate Provider must be the energy saver or nominated as such before the eligible activity is implemented
(b) The Accredited Certificate Provider must be accredited for the Recognised Energy Saving Activity before the eligible activity is implemented.
Therefore, if you were not nominated as the energy saver prior to the upgrade, you will not be able to claim energy savings.
Yes, but only for the difference between the upgrades and providing you have sufficient evidence to quantify the difference.
ESCs cannot be created twice for the same energy savings.
All relevant evidentiary requirements apply. These are detailed in the Commercial Lighting Method Guide and Commercial Lighting Evidence Manual.
As stated in Clause 9.4 and the definitions of the ESS Rule, a commercial premises is defined as:
A building classified under the Building Code of Australia, Classes: 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 or 10b, and common areas of Class 2 buildings
Lighting for Roads and Public spaces
This means that the Commercial Lighting Formula can be applied to lighting upgrades at most non-residential premises including industrial facilities, public facilities, office buildings, hotels, motels and shopping centres.
See ESS Rule Clause 9.4
An aggregator is an Accredited Certificate Provider that creates Energy Savings Certificates on behalf of clients. As an Accredited Certificate Provider, the aggregator is responsible for compliance with the scheme requirements, regardless of whether they were actively involved in the implementation.
The term aggregator refers to how it “aggregates” the savings from a number of clients to make it feasible for them and their clients to participate in the ESS.
Please check the list of Accredited Certificate Providers and Activities.
Only if the transfer is to a related body corporate.
Section 140 of the Electricity Supply Act 1995 identifies that an accreditation is not transferable. However, allowance is made where the Scheme Administrator approves a transfer of an accreditation to a related body corporate.
A ‘related body corporate’ is defined in section 50 of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) as:
(a) a holding company of another body corporate; or
(b) a subsidiary of another body corporate; or
(c) a subsidiary of a holding company of another body corporate;
the first-mentioned body and the other body are related to each other.
Under Section 140(3) of the Electricity Supply Act 1995 (NSW) the Scheme Administrator may only approve the transfer of accreditation if it is satisfied the transferee is (or will be) eligible for accreditation and will fulfill the obligations that the accredited certificate provider is required to fulfill in respect of the relevant recognised energy saving activity.
Transfers of accreditation incur an accreditation transfer fee. An application is accepted as complete once all required documentation has been submitted and payment of the fee is confirmed.