AGL and the New South Wales Government are investing $1 million dollars in a pilot program that aims to reduce energy costs by around $420 a year by providing solar energy to community housing tenants in Sydney.

As part of the program, around 250 households will have solar panels, a digital meter and a solar command energy monitoring system installed at no cost.

AGL and the New South Wales Government will each invest $500,000 in the pilot program, aimed at addressing the underlying challenges for customers experiencing energy hardship. Installation of the solar packages are planned to start in December 2016.

The tenants will also have a free home energy visit by Kildonan UnitingCare to connect them with other social support services, and provide information on how to maximise the benefits of their new solar package.

The upgrades to the properties tenanted by AGL customers are expected to collectively reduce energy costs by about $105,000 every year. This is an annual average saving of $420 per household.

AGL Managing Director and CEO, Andy Vesey, said AGL is committed to playing a leading role in developing a pathway to a modern, decarbonised electricity sector, and that means developing solutions for all customers.

“Working with our partners in the community sector, we know that customers participating on our hardship program not only have some of the highest levels of household consumption, they also have the least ability to pay,” Mr Vesey said.

“Collective solutions like these across the government, industry and community sector is an example of what’s needed – to help bridge the gap and to better address the underlying factors contributing to energy hardship.

“The energy sector is evolving rapidly but that evolution, innovation and environmental benefit cannot continue to be delivered at the current pace if we end up leaving people behind. We need to be innovating for an inclusive energy future that serves the needs of every member of the community.”

AGL supports the introduction of minimum rental standards and the development of a home energy rating system to give tenants and home buyers more confidence about the likely ongoing energy costs of their new homes.

NSW community housing providers participating in the pilot project include Evolve Housing, Bridge Housing and SGCH.

AGL’s $500,000 contribution to the pilot program, under the State Government’s Home Energy Action Clean Energy program, is part of its $6.5 million affordability initiative which was launched in 2014.

Lauren brings a fresh approach to content. While she’s previously written for publications as diverse as Australian Geographic, The Border Watch and Girlfriend, she’s found her true passion in her current role as an editor in the world of energy and infrastructure trade magazines.

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