ESS Scheme

Everything You Need to Know About the NSW Energy Savings Scheme

The NSW Energy Savings Scheme (ESS) is a government initiative aimed at reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in New South Wales. It was introduced in 2009 and is administered by the NSW Government’s Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.

The scheme provides financial incentives to businesses and households that implement energy-efficient measures such as installing energy-efficient lighting, upgrading heating and cooling systems, and improving insulation.

The NSW ESS works by creating a market for energy savings certificates (ESCs), which are created when energy-saving activities are undertaken. These certificates can be sold to energy retailers, who are required to buy a certain number of ESCs each year as part of their obligation under the scheme.

The financial incentive for businesses and households to undertake energy-saving measures comes from the sale of these certificates, which can be worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars depending on the amount of energy saved. The scheme has been successful in driving energy efficiency improvements, reducing energy costs for households and businesses, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in NSW.

energy savings LED lighting installed in a place of business

What is the NSW Energy Saver Scheme (ESS)?

The NSW Energy Savings Scheme (ESS) is a government-funded program that encourages the use of energy-efficient equipment and appliances in the state. Since 2009, the ESS has provided over 21,000 gigawatt-hours of energy savings across homes and businesses. According to the government, it will account for $3 billion in savings over the next decade.

Each year, the government updates the ESS to improve its effectiveness and incorporate new methods for saving energy. The first iterations of the rule focused heavily on LED lighting, but it now incorporates a long list of other energy projects. You can find the most recently updated rule here.


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    Energy Saver is an initiative proudly funded by the NSW Government

    How Does the ESS Work?

    When you choose an upgrade or installation that reduces your electricity consumption, you create energy savings certificates (ESCs). An ESC demonstrates a single notional Megawatt hour (MWh) of energy savings.

    What happens to those ESCs? They’re bought and sold.

    Not just any contractor or retailer can buy or sell ESCs. The process takes place with an Accredited Certificate Provider (ACP). ACPs are the bodies allowed to buy and then sell the ESC to ‘liable parties,’ such as electricity retailers. ACPs put in a huge amount of effort (and money) to achieve accreditation to complete those trades. The government requires the use of ACPs because you need to achieve minimum standards for both product quality and installation to qualify for the program.

    The good news is this: as a client interested in new LED lighting, you don’t need to work directly with an ACP. Instead, you can work with upgrade solutions providers (E-Green Electrical) who work in collaboration with ACPs and are more likely to work in your local community. In other words, it puts two steps between you (the consumer) and the paperwork.

    The ins-and-outs of the system are paperwork-heavy, but you don’t have to worry. E-Green Electrical takes care of that part for you.

    Does the ESS Offer Rebates?

    No, unlike other schemes, you won’t get a rebate directly paid to you. Instead, two parties trade those ESCs (certificates). Your ‘rebate’ is the product of the trade rather than a simple cash transaction or a refund.

    What Lighting Does the ESS Cover?

    ESS’s big lighting feature covers LED products. Before the ESS, upgrading to LED lights from old fluorescent tubes was impossibly expensive, particularly as buildings got bigger. But when you upgrade using the ESS subsidies, you can save up to 80% of the total upfront costs. Plus, you will continue to save on electricity bills for years to come.

    Subsidies exist for ESS-approved products. You’ll only get funding from accredited products. It’s important to choose an approved product the first time around because otherwise, you can’t enjoy the subsidy and you’re stuck with the whole bill. What’s more, ESS has minimum standards for a reason: you’re going to get more benefit if you follow their guidelines.

    What buildings does the program apply to?

    You can get funding both for home lighting (the Home Energy Efficiency Retrofit) and for Commerical Lighting Formula (CLF). In other words, you can upgrade your homes or commercial premises via the same ESS scheme.

    Why Choose an LED Lighting Upgrade?

    ESS makes LED lighting upgrades more accessible than before by subsidising product and installation costs. But why choose LED lighting in the first place?

    LED is already well-known as highly efficient lighting technology, and it is fundamentally changing the future of lighting globally. LED lights last 25 times as long as incandescent bulbs and burn 75% less energy.

    That’s why NSW encourages installation through programs like the ESS. Not only do you save on installation, but you substantially save on the costs of energy every month. For businesses, the savings can be in the thousands every year.

    How Do You Get Started?

    When you decide to upgrade your lighting within the ESS program, getting started isn’t much different from any other service upgrade.

    Your first task is to discuss your requirements with your upgrade solution provider and or affiliated ACP. You will choose the equipment you want and agree that it meets your needs. During this time, it’s important to think about your future lighting needs. LED lights last for a long period of time, so it’s important that you are satisfied.

    When your project is costed and your order is drawn, you will need to ensure you understand any related commitments that come with your upgrade. These will be explained to you before you sign anything.

    Once ready, you then begin with the paperwork. In many cases, all you need to do is nominate an ACP (via the Nomination Form) to allow them to buy and sell your ESCs.

    Once the work is done, you sign a Post Implementation Declaration, which signals that the upgrade meets your needs.

    Are You Ready for Greater Energy Savings?

    If you haven’t yet upgraded your lighting system to include LEDs, the time to start your project is now. The Energy Saver Scheme helps cover up to 80% of the costs of your products and installation. As LED becomes more popular, these incentives might continue to wind down in favour of other types of technologies.

    Ready to get started? Get in touch for a free LED upgrade consultation. One of our LED lighting consultants will be in touch within 24 hours.


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      Anything else you would like to ask us regarding our services and offers? Please feel free to get in touch and our friendly staff will assist you.


      From $33*
      Energy Saver is an initiative proudly funded by the NSW Government


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