Enabling electrification: addressing the barriers to moving off gas faced by lower-income households

Sangeetha Chandrashekeran, Julia de Bruyn, David Bryant and Damian Sullivan

Our study explores the views of lower-income households about moving from gas to electricity as home energy sources, the barriers they face, and the implications for policy to achieve equitable solutions.

At a glance

Shifting households from carbon-intensive natural gas to less carbon-intensive fuels like renewable electricity is becoming a priority. This report draws on surveys and focus groups with Victorian households facing energy stress to understand their attitudes to disconnecting from gas, and to identify the barriers and enablers to the change. It also identifies policy solutions to achieve equitable electrification.

Dive deeper

Key findings

  • Most participants supported the transition away from household gas
  • Housing tenure is a key factor in electrification
  • Energy preferences were mixed and linked to current usage
  • Cost saving and environmental benefits drive moves to electrify homes
  • Awareness of electrification programs lags behind that of other schemes to assist with energy costs
  • Households’ interest in and capacity to electrify vary

Implications for policy

To enable the transition from gas to electricity for lower-income households, policy makers will need to address:

  • the multiple stressors that may prevent households from prioritising electrification
  • the need for better targeted promotion, accurate information and trusted advice tailored to people’s financial circumstances
  • the split incentives that can be a barrier to electrification for renters and rental providers
  • capital barriers to installing electric appliances
  • access to solar panels and energy efficiency upgrades for renters and lower-income households
  • a plan for the future of the residential gas network, to increase certainty
  • meaningful ways to include the people facing major barriers in the planning for electrification.

This study involved researchers from the Life Course Centre at the University of Melbourne and the Social Policy and Research Centre at the Brotherhood of St. Laurence. It was funded by Energy Consumers Australia and supported by the Australian Government through the Australian Research Council's Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course (Project ID CE200100025). Additional financial support was received from the Melbourne Energy Institute at the University of Melbourne.

Last updated on 24 July 2023