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Energy reduction and the implications of the carbon tax

Using energy more efficiently can help businesses save money and is an important part of the Federal Government’s Clean Energy Future Plan to drive action on climate change. The introduction of the carbon tax on 1 July is a timely opportunity for businesses to review how they can conserve energy to help transform Australia into a low pollution nation.

Legislation passed in March sets out how Australia will introduce a carbon price, fixed like a tax for the first three years, to reduce carbon pollution.

From 1 July, about 500 of Australia’s biggest carbon-emitting companies, including electricity generating firms, mining companies and heavy industry manufacturers, will pay $23 for each tonne of carbon they emit into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide to encourage cleaner, more efficient ways of operating.

The price will apply to pollution from electricity generation, stationary energy, some business transport, waste, industrial processes and fugitive emissions. 

Smaller businesses, households and farmers have no direct obligations under the new scheme and the government has promised there will be no compliance for small business owners.

Yet there will be flow-on effects as larger companies pass on costs to small businesses and consumers. Treasury modeling shows this should be modest and government is subsidising some costs for householders.

Impacts on small businesses will depend on the level of exposure the business has to goods and services from suppliers, the carbon intensive nature of their products/services and their ability to pass on costs.

Energy prices are expected to rise significantly due to costs associated with replacing old assets and infrastructure. Businesses are advised to look at lowering their energy costs to minimise the impact.

To assist small to medium businesses improve their energy efficiencies and adjust to the carbon price, the government has put a number of measures in place including:

•  An increase in the instant asset write-off to $6,500 for businesses that upgrade their equipment

•  $5 million funding over four years to improve and provide advice to small businesses on clean technology

•  A $40 million Energy Efficiency Information Grants program to provide advice on reducing energy costs

•  A Small Business Support Line (1800 777 275) to help improve sustainability and management

Initiatives run by Clean Business Australia and Low Carbon Australia will also help businesses support water efficiencies and become carbon neutral to reduce costs as well as bring new marketing opportunities.

Many questions on the implications of the carbon tax will remain until the scheme comes into effect in July. However, one message is clear. Businesses need to find smarter ways to improve energy efficiencies and reduce their energy costs as Australia moves to a low carbon economy.

Energy Quotes can help by providing businesses with tailored energy solutions based on an honest assessment of energy bills and free quotes from a number of suppliers. They also provide advice on alternative, cost-effective options for reducing energy bills including energy audits. For more information call 1300 697 868 or visit .

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