Esperance, Western Australia, has successfully transitioned around 400 of its community to electric power, and supporting the state aim of net zero by 2050.

The private gas network owner and operator has ceased supplying reticulated gas to the Esperance community.

Around 400 customers, including residential and business customers have now made the switch from reticulated gas to an alternative energy source, with the majority choosing electrification. This transition will help customers reduce energy bills and carbon emissions.

Western Australian Energy Minister, Bill Johnston, said, “This is a significant milestone for the State, demonstrating the first electrification of its kind for Australia.

“The project sets a benchmark for the rest of the country. While other organisations are in their planning stages, Horizon Power is making things happen.”

Mr Johnston said Western Australia’s remote and regional energy provider, Horizon Power, is a pioneer when it comes to innovative, renewable solutions, helping accelerate towards net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

“This project will serve as a blueprint for other electrification works around the country. We thank the dedicated project team, trades, suppliers, energy experts and the Esperance community, who have worked together to ensure the success of this innovative project,” Mr Johnston said.

Western Australia’s regional energy provider, Horizon Power, has been supporting customers in Esperance since September 2021, when the private gas network owner and operator announced it intended to stop supplying reticulated gas to customers.

Since then, Horizon Power, on behalf of the Western Australian Government, has been working with registered homeowners, businesses and tradespeople in Esperance to ensure the transition occurred seamlessly and to address the unique needs of the customers.

A small number of customers will transition by mid-2023. Some businesses have made the commercial decision to postpone while other customers are awaiting specific appliances. In the meantime, these customers will retain continuity of service and the impact to business operations will be minimal.

Customers who have made the switch from reticulated gas to an entirely electric solution will have the opportunity to benefit from lower utility bills, while avoiding unregulated gas price rises, also allowing customers to decrease their carbon footprint with energy efficient electric appliances creating less greenhouse gas emissions than gas counterparts.

Following the private gas network owner and operator’s 2021 announcement, Horizon Power negotiated a 12-month extension to give Esperance residential and business customers time to transition to a new energy source.

Transitioning from reticulated gas was found to provide the greatest benefits for customers and the broader community, with the least risks.

Member for the Agricultural Region Shelley Payne said, “The transition to electric power in Esperance represents a significant milestone for the town, ushering in cheaper energy prices for households and businesses and positioning the community for a renewable energy future.

“I want to thank the people of Esperance for embracing this opportunity and working with Horizon Power to effect what is a significant change in the way their power is delivered.”

On behalf of the Western Australian Government, Horizon Power then developed an Energy Transition Plan to support impacted customers with the transition off the reticulated gas network to alternative longer-term energy solutions.

The Western Australian Government has invested $10.5 million to ensure all affected customers are transitioned to a longer-term energy solution that best suits their needs, ensuring continued access to reliable and secure energy.

The Esperance Energy Transition Plan has provided financial assistance to customers for like-for-like replacement, guidance from energy efficiency experts, connection with local tradespeople, and dedicated phone and email support. Horizon Power has worked closely with local businesses throughout the process, with 88 per cent of residential transitions completed by local trades.

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