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Government to review appliance energy efficiency standards

The federal government has announced a review of the Greenhouse and Energy Minimum Standards Act 2012 (GEMS Act), which allows the government to set energy efficiency standards for appliances and equipment.

Federal environment minister Josh Frydenberg said the act had been responsible for significant improvements in energy efficiency.

“To date, standards under the GEMS Act have saved the average household between $140 and $220 on their electricity bill each year,” Mr Frydenberg said.

It also delivered a net benefit of between $870 million to $1.58 billion to the economy in 2016, with greenhouse gas savings of 4.5-6.9 megatonnes.

“From 2015 to 2020, the GEMS Act is estimated to reduce Australia’s emissions by at least 27 mega tonnes,” Mr Frydenberg said. “That’s the same as taking over eight million cars off the road for a year.”

The review will look at the extent to which the framework established by the GEMS Act is achieving its purpose; improvements that could be made, including costs and impacts; implementation and transition actions to facilitate improvements; and any other relevant environmental, cost, technical and regulatory issues.

The review will be conducted by law firm Allens’ parter and head of innovation Anna Collyer, who specialises in the energy sector.

A statement from Mr Frydenberg labelled her “one of Australia’s leading energy lawyers”.

Mr Frydenberg said the review was important opportunity to “reflect on changing appliance and equipment use, emerging technologies, the increasing connectedness of appliances and international best practice”.

“What we must always focus on is maximising the benefit to consumers and, at the same time, providing a dividend for the environment.”

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