The Energy Savings Scheme (ESS) is a NSW-based mandatory energy efficiency scheme for electricity retailers and other participants under the Electricity Supply Act 1995.

The ESS reduces electricity consumption in NSW by creating financial incentives to invest in energy savings.

It assists households and businesses to reduce electricity consumption and electricity bills.

Households and businesses that save energy by installing, improving or replacing energy savings equipment can gain financial incentives by participating in the scheme (see Background to the ESS or visit the Energy Savings Scheme website for more information).

Energy Savings Scheme Review

In November 2014, the NSW Government announced its intention to reform the Energy Savings Scheme (ESS) and that it would consult on further enhancements in April 2015.

The Minister for Industry, Resources and Energy and the Minister for the Environment jointly released an ESS Review Report package for public consultation.

For details of the announced enhancements visit Energy Savings Scheme Review.

Energy Savings Scheme Current Rule

The current Energy Savings Scheme Rule became effective on 19 June 2015.

Rule Change 2013-2014

The NSW Government has concluded the ESS Rule Change Consultation Process for the enhanced ESS Rule 2013-2014.

For a copy of the Energy Savings Scheme Rule Amendments and to access information and documents from the Rule Change Consultation Process (including the consultation paper, draft rule, forum presentations, public submissions and a NSW Government policy response to submissions) visit the Energy Savings Scheme Rule 2013-2014 Consultation.  

Energy Savings Scheme Exemptions 2015

The ESS is established by Part 9 of the NSW Electricity Supply Act 1995. Sections 119-122 of the Act allow the Minister for Resources and Energy to publish an Order in the NSW Government Gazette granting full or partial exemption from ESS liabilities in respect of any electricity load used by persons in connection with emissions intensive and trade exposed (EITE) activities.

The Minister must be satisfied that the electricity load is both EITE and that the exemption is otherwise generally consistent with the objects of Part 9 of the Act.

ESS exemptions are closely aligned with the approach to EITE industries and activities adopted by the Commonwealth Government's Clean Energy Regulator (CER).

Given the discontinuation of the Jobs and Competitiveness Program by the Commonwealth, the activities included in the 2015 Order are based on the CER's list of approved EITE activities for the Renewable Energy Target. There is close alignment between the two. The 2015 ESS Exemptions Order and the explanatory ESS Exemptions Policy Framework can be accessed from the links below

Background to the Energy Savings Scheme

The ESS was established in 2009 under the Electricity Supply Act 1995. The Act provides that the primary objective of the ESS is to create a financial incentive to reduce the consumption of electricity by encouraging energy saving activities. The ESS works by placing an obligation on NSW energy retailers and large energy users to purchase energy savings in the form of certificates each year.

The ESS has been highly successful to date. The ESS has supported projects that will deliver around 9000 gigawatt hours of electricity savings over their lifetimes. These electricity savings are estimated to deliver around $1.4 billion in bill savings for NSW households and businesses over the next decade or more.

The Energy Savings Scheme is legislated to continue until 2020. 

Further information can be found on the Energy Savings Scheme website. The NSW Government has announced that it intends to make a number of enhancements to the Energy Savings Scheme.