Households could be forced to find an extra $1400 for non-electric hot water under Labor green scheme expansion

I have had experience with both types of gas hot water systems and they are all prone to blowing out when it is windy -- which is hugely pesky

HOUSEHOLDS could be forced to find an extra $1400 for hot water under a massive expansion of another federal Labor green scheme.

The state government has warned that some families could struggle to comply with the little-known scheme, which bans electric systems in favour of expensive solar units and other systems.

NSW families will most likely have to pay $1.7 billion over the 10-year life of the scheme.

Under the second phase of the plan, about 70 per cent of NSW households will have to find up to $1400 for new solar, heat pump or gas systems if their energy-intensive electric hot water units break down and can't be repaired.

A spokeswoman for the Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency said the scheme would help the "hot water industry to move to a low emission future" within 10 years.

Phase one of the scheme started last year, when electric water heaters were banned from being installed in new detached, terrace or town houses.

Phase two, which extends the ban to existing homes, was slated for next year but is likely to be delayed because the majority of households that rely on electric hot water systems do not have access to reticulated natural gas and only 7 per cent have solar.

The scheme was greeted with caution yesterday. "Before making a decision on implementation in NSW we need to be satisfied that the industry has a clearly demonstrated capacity to supply and install alternative technologies and that there are means available to assist lower income householders to manage the higher upfront costs of a solar or heat pump systems, where gas is unavailable," a NSW Office of Environment and Heritage spokeswoman said.

Industry bosses said plumbers need more training before the program is fully rolled out. "You can't just remove hot water systems without there being greater access and availability of gas as a cheaper alternative to going solar," Master Plumbers Association chief executive officer Paul Naylor said.

The Clean Energy Council said substantial rebates would need to be provided, backed by a strong educational campaign, to ensure households did not simply install the cheapest system with no environmental benefits.


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