Small Business Energy Saver Program: Information bulletin

Last updated: 19 July 2021

This page will be updated regularly based on questions we receive.

Information session

We held an information session on 9 March 2021 to present an overview of the program to Accredited Persons.

Presentation slides

Download the presentation slides (pdf, 1MB).



Victorian Energy Upgrades data

The latest data highlighting Victorian Energy Upgrades business activity shows that since the launch of the Small Business Energy Saver Program, Accredited Providers have been busy delivering upgrades for small businesses, particularly heat pumps and refrigerated display cabinets. As the program ramps up, we are expecting to see an increase in all eligible activities.

Sign up by 31 August 2021 to start delivering Victorian Energy Upgrade activities across Victorian small businesses.

Intermediaries engaged

Sustainability Victoria has contracted eight intermediaries to promote the program to small businesses. These intermediaries will connect businesses with registered Accredited Providers and provide information about potential upgrades. This information will include details of existing equipment (photos and specifications).

Small business expression of interest

Sustainability Victoria has sent emails to more than 300 businesses that have expressed interest in participating in the program. This included contact details for registered Accredited Providers in their region and information on what they will need to provide to Accredited Providers to have upgrades performed at their business.


Sustainability Victoria would like to hear from Accredited Providers regarding any specific promotional content or guidance that may assist you in delivering the Small Business Energy Saver program.

Registration process

If, after registering for the program, I receive accreditation for an additional eligible Victorian Energy Upgrade activity, will I need to complete a new registration form?

No, you can register for the program noting the eligible Victorian Energy Upgrade activities you are currently approved for. Should you receive additional accreditation while the program is active, please contact us to advise of your new accreditation so that we can update your information on our website.

Under the Victorian Energy Upgrades program, I am required to hold $5 million public liability insurance. Do I need to increase my cover to $10 million to participate in this program?

No. We reviewed this requirement and amended the Registration form and Terms and Conditions of Participation (docx, 87kB) (pdf, 155kB) to reflect a minimum requirement of $5 million for public and products liability insurance. This is in line with the requirements under the Victorian Energy Upgrades program.

Do I need professional indemnity insurance?

You are required to hold professional indemnity insurance if the particular nature of your business requires you to hold such insurance (ie if you are in the business of providing professional advice).

We have revised the Terms and Conditions of Participation so that Accredited Persons must maintain all relevant insurances that they would be reasonably expected to maintain and this may or may not include professional indemnity insurance.

Please let us know in your registration form if you are not required to have professional indemnity insurance. If you do have such insurance, we have revised the minimum level to $2 million.

Following registration

When can an Accredited Person/Installer start eligible Victorian Energy Upgrade activities under the program?

Activities can start from the date that Sustainability Victoria confirms your registration in the program. Registration will be confirmed via an email from SmartyGrants along with details of your initial delivery period, allocation and account details.

How do I access my Sustainability Victoria account to upload invoices and complete the required forms?

Your Sustainability Victoria account is accessed through the SmartyGrants account that you created when you completed the registration form to register your interest in the program.

If you need assistance to reset your password or access your account, please contact SmartyGrants on 03 9320 6888. You can log in to your account to view your submissions and upload the required documents to claim your Bonus.

For assistance with uploading documents and understanding the process to claim the Bonus, please email or call 03 8626 8700 to speak with a member of the Small Business Energy Saver team.

Small business information

How do you define the number of employees in a small business?

Under the program, a small business is defined as having between 1 – 19 employees. This is further defined as Full-Time Equivalent Employees (FTE) or the hours worked by one employee on a full-time basis.

An FTE of 1.0 is equivalent to a full-time worker of approximately 40 hours per week.

Calculating FTE Example: This calculation is used to convert the hours worked by several part-time employees into the hours worked by full-time employees. For example, you have three employees working 40, 40 and 20 hours per week respectively, giving you 100 hours per week in total.

Assuming full-time hours are 40 hours per week, your full-time equivalent calculation is 100 hours divided by 40 hours which equals 2.5 FTE.

How do you define a residential vs. non-residential small business under the program?

The program follows the Essential Services Commission classification of buildings. Any small business deemed residential under this classification will not be eligible to participate in the program. See section 3.4 of the Program guidelines and more details from the Essential Services Commission below.

In some cases (e.g., hotels, motels and aged care facilities), part of a business can be considered residential and part non-residential. Therefore, eligible Victorian Energy Upgrades activities performed in rooms at these facilities would not be eligible for a Bonus under the program, but would be eligible if undertaken in common areas (e.g., kitchen, laundry and foyer).

Under the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target Act, residential premises are defined as a Class 1, 2, 3 or 4 building under the National Construction Code, previously the Building Code of Australia. Further information regarding the Victorian Energy Upgrades program, the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target Act and the regulations is available on the ESC website.

Are not-for-profits eligible under the program?

Yes, provided they meet the other eligibility criteria outlined in the Program Guidelines:

  • Located in Victoria.
  • Between 1 and 19 employees (full-time equivalent).
  • Operates from a commercial (non-residential) premises.

How will the $2,000 cap per business be monitored?

The Customer Declaration form (docx, 109kB) requires the small business customer to declare any previous Bonus they have received under the program and to confirm that they have not exceeded the $2,000 cap by requesting the current upgrade (Victorian Energy Upgrade activity).

What if the small business is operating out of rented or leased premises?

If the small business does not own the premises and occupies under a lease or licence, they must ensure they are authorised to have the installation activities carried out at the premises.

Should I leave some sections of the Customer Declaration form blank if the small business does not consent to sharing its data?

No. All sections of the Customer Declaration should still be completed, including the energy consumption and billing details. Accredited Providers/Installers should complete all sections except the Authorisation and Declaration section at the time of installation. Then, following installation, the small business must complete the Authorisation and Declaration section, including all checkboxes.

Payment process

Am I required to pass on the Bonus to the small business customer at the installation stage?

No. We have recently introduced a delayed cash payment option in addition to the current point-of-sale discount on installations. This means you can either pass on the Bonus to the small business customer at the installation stage or following the registration of VEECs with the Essential Services Commission.

If you choose to provide a delayed cash payment, customers must agree to this on the Customer Declaration form, and you must provide SV with a bank payment transfer confirmation when claiming the Bonus, as evidence that you have passed the Bonus on to the customer.

Is GST added to the Bonus payment which Accredited Persons invoice to Sustainability Victoria at the end of the month?

Yes. You are required to add GST to the request for Bonus payment and provide us with a tax invoice (see clause 15 of the Terms and Conditions of Participation (docx, 87kB) (pdf, 155kB)).

When invoicing Sustainability Victoria under the program, you may include the following description of services (or similar): Supplies made by [your business name] to Sustainability Victoria under the terms and conditions of the Small Business Energy Saver Program.

Terms and Conditions of Participation

We updated the Terms and Conditions of Participation (docx, 87kB) (pdf, 155kB) to reflect revised changes to the insurance requirements, to clarify the GST requirements and advise of the new delayed cash payment option.