Release of Major Research on Network Demand Management

9 June 2011

The Australian Alliance to Save Energy (‘A2SE’) is today releasing a major research report into the status of demand management activity by Australia’s electricity network infrastructure companies.  The research, entitled “Scaling the Peaks: Demand Management and Electricity Networks” is being launched at an event in Sydney opened by NSW Minister for the Environment and Heritage, the Hon Robyn Parker MP.  The work was funded by the Victorian Department of Primary Industries, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, and the Consumer Advocacy Panel.

A2SE commissioned leading energy efficiency company Energetics and the Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology, Sydney to complete the work, which includes a first-ever independent national survey of current investment practices by electricity network companies.  The survey found that:

  • Demand management measures are cost effective in creating new system capacity, with each dollar spent on demand management saving more than two dollars in avoided network infrastructure costs ;
  • Demand management energy savings expected for 2010/11 is 51GWh which equals 0.02 % of Australia’s annual energy usage;
  • Expenditure on demand management is relatively small - $50 million in 2010/11, equivalent to less than 0.6% of the annual $9 billion capital spending on reinforcing network supply capacity.

A2SE Executive Director Mark Lister said, “There is no question that energy bills are rising due to increasing spending on electricity networks, much of which is to provide for current growth in energy requirements. 

“Queensland and NSW electricity networks have taken the lead in investing in demand management but there are still major barriers to our electricity suppliers making the most of the opportunities.

“As our research demonstrates, there is a far greater focus on increasing network size and supplying more electricity.  We urgently need to level the playing field for the cheaper, equally effective alternative of reducing energy waste and reducing demand at peak times. 

“Energy savings, reducing peak demand and using local energy generation has the potential to meet our needs more cost-effectively while cutting consumers energy bills.” Mr Lister said.

Australian consumers have responded well in recent times to policies and measures helping them to become more energy efficient.  However, these gains may be eroded by the need to recover revenue to pay for new supply infrastructure, which are charged to consumers at rates by regulation.

Mr Lister said, “Most experts agree that savings are possible if there is greater co-ordination and changes to the incentives and regulatory environment for network companies.

“We need to engage positively with these companies and work in partnership with them, towards a business model that better recognises the role demand management can play in creating significant savings for energy users.”

Other components of the research include an extensive survey of the barriers to action on demand management, and a review of the solutions being deployed internationally.  The reports can be downloaded here.

A2SE is modelled on the United States-based Alliance to Save Energy (, which has played a critical role in North American energy efficiency advocacy and policy making for over 30 years.  The Alliance has helped design, implement, and evaluate a range of energy efficiency, demand management and distributed energy programs.  A2SE is engaged in research and information on these issues nationally and has affiliations with industry bodies, universities, leading practitioner companies, State and Federal government representatives and international partners.

For more information about A2SE or this research please contact Mark Lister on 0402 320 906 or