The Hon. G.G. BROCK (Frome) (15:11): My question is to the Minister for Energy and Mining.  

Can the minister advise the house how many of the 1,100 Housing Trust homes that have participated in the virtual power plant scheme are located in regional South Australia and in particular the electorate of Frome?  

With your leave, sir, and that of the house, I will explain further.  Leave granted.  

The Hon. G.G. BROCK: Yesterday, in answer to a question from the member for Heysen, the minister indicated that 1,100 Housing Trust homes now have solar and batteries installed and they are achieving incredibly well for those people and that they are thrilled to be providing Housing SA tenants directly cheaper electricity through these schemes. I would be interested to know how many of those are in regional South Australia and the electorate of Frome. 

 The Hon. D.C. VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN (Stuart—Minister for Energy and Mining) (15:12): Thanks to my neighbour, the member for Frome. Yes, you’re quite right and I also said yesterday that those people were receiving a 22 per cent discount on the default market offer, which by any point of view would be a very good electricity price to receive. I know that there are a lot, a significant number in regional South Australia. I would be very pleased to come back to the member with the specific number in Frome. I would be really pleased to do that. 

 I have certainly visited homes that have this equipment as part of the Tesla SA VPP around the state in regional areas, so I know they exist. It’s working very well. Our government is very focused on making sure that everything that we do, wherever possible, benefits metropolitan and regional people across the state and remote people in the outback, something that we came to government very clearly with. We are going to reduce costs of living and we are going to increase jobs. All the things that we are going to do were to benefit the entire state, not just to focus on metropolitan Adelaide, as we all know we saw for the decade leading up to the last election. 

 For the member for Frome, I would be really pleased to get that breakdown. In fact, I can break it down into different communities within the electorate of Frome, which would help my friend and neighbour. This program is very important, so I am really pleased that he raised it because getting the cost of living down for all South Australians in as many ways as possible is incredibly important.  

The people of Port Pirie and other people in Frome, under our government, have received cheaper NRM levies. They have received cheaper electricity. They have received cheaper water— in fact, approximately a 20 per cent reduction in the cost of water under the Marshall Liberal government for the people in Port Pirie. They have received a wide range of cost-of-living reductions across the entire electorate. I know that the people of Port Pirie are very thankful to the Marshall Liberal government for what we are doing for them, and there’s a lot more to come.  

We work every day, among other things, to try to get the cost of living down for the people across our state, not just in Adelaide, as was the case before the last election, but certainly for the people of Port Pirie, for the people of Port Augusta, for the people of Whyalla, for the people of the South-East, for the people of Eyre Peninsula, for the people of the Riverland. Every corner of this state is benefiting from the work of the Marshall Liberal government getting down the cost of living.  

We are doing an enormous amount with regard to health services and other things as well. The people of Port Pirie would be very aware of what the Marshall Liberal government is doing for them, and it started on the day we were elected.  

Tuesday, 2 February 2021                                                   HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY                                                                Page 3789

In reply to the Hon. G.G. BROCK (Frome) (23 July 2020). 

The Hon. D.C. VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN (Stuart—Minister for Energy and Mining): I have been advised:

The South Australian Virtual Power Plant (SA VPP) trial phases were designed to inform the business case for an expanded state-wide roll out of the program, as such the government imposed a minimum 5 per cent target for regional installations during the phase 2 trial. These requirements were exceeded, with 64 of the 1,000 home energy systems installed on properties in regional South Australia, including Murray Bridge (23), Port Lincoln (11), Nuriootpa/Tanunda (7), and Whyalla (6). Importantly, properties that are selected for the installation of a home energy system firstly need to be assessed as suitable, and the tenants are also required to opt-in to become a customer of the program.

To that end, under the phase 2 trial, 16 South Australian Housing Authority (SAHA) properties were assessed for suitability within the Frome electorate, and seven (7) offers were made to tenants to join the program. Regretfully those tenants elected not to accept the retail offer to become a SA VPP customer. The SA VPP has now advanced to phase 3, and to date a further 24 SAHA properties in the Frome electorate were found to be suitable, and tenants were invited to join the program on 1 September 2020. Of these: • 19 tenants have signed up for a site assessment; • Eight (8) properties have been found to be suitable, with the remaining 11 still under review; • Six (6) tenants have now accepted the retail offer to become a SA VPP customer, of which four (4) home energy systems have been installed with a further two (2) to be scheduled.

South Australia now has more than 21,000 home batteries installed or committed (with more than 14,000 supported by the government’s flagship Home Battery Scheme), cementing our position as a leader both nationally and internationally for the adoption of residential storage. Through this scheme I am advised there are currently 265 households with conditional approvals in postcodes that are located in the Frome electorate. 224 of these households have had batteries installed.

I also understand that 59 home batteries were installed under the Community Solar Project, a Port Pirie Regional Council initiative to facilitate the provision of affordable solar in the region.