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Unexpected innovator emerges in state-based app output

by Taylor Fox-Smith •
Free resource

Leading the production of app-based citizen services, the Federal government has produced a total of 95 apps – almost twelve times Western Australia's 8, five times South Australia's 18, three times Queensland's 31 and substantially ahead of NSW's 76. However, it is Victoria, the under-performer in the digital transition, that has proven to be making under-appreciated gains in app-development. Despite the State's poor performance on Intermedium's Digital Government Readiness Indicator, Victoria has demonstrated its preparedness to deliver citizen-centric digital services in a media release from the Minister for Energy and Resources, Lily D’Ambrosio, confirming the launch of an innovative Home Energy Rating App in late 2016. Victoria is a now a close second, behind the Federal Government, with a soon to be total of 87 apps.  

Intermedium’s Digital Government Readiness Indicator – which rates the capacity of jurisdictions to implement digital services for citizens – placed Victoria in fourth place, behind the smaller jurisdictions of Queensland and South Australia. The anticipated launch of the Residential Efficiency Scorecard, a cloud-based web app, represents a timely progression in the state's digital transformation and illuminates Victoria's pocket of excellence in app-development. With 7 apps for Museums Victoria, 6 apps for the National Gallery of Victoria and 10 transport related apps, the Residential Efficiency Scorecard will be the first Energy and Resources app for the State and the first of its kind for the country.  

The Residential Efficiency Scorecard is used by private, expert assessors, voluntarily contacted by householders, to ascertain household energy use and provide advice for improved efficiency. The app uses fixed household information, such as heaters, air conditioners and solar panels, to generate an on-the-spot star rating out of ten and certificate. The certificate apportions energy use, highlights renewable energy, scores hot weather efficiency and provides advice for improvement.   

Whilst the Australian Government released a free Energy Rating app for citizens in 2014 to assist in the purchase of energy efficient appliances by displaying lifetime power use in dollars rather than kilowatts, the Residential Efficiency scorecard provides a more holistic rating of energy use with the addition of an in-depth certificate of the household at large. Moreover, the three-month trial of the rating tool, which commenced in January, identified an average household energy efficiency of 3 stars which supports the app's potential for engaging Victorian citizens. Minister D’Ambrosio emphasised that the Scorecard will provide citizens with both improved savings on energy costs and a multifaceted understanding of energy use. 

However, the digital service will enter a contested private sector arena. AGL, one of Australia’s largest energy retailers, has released and continues to develop their residential energy management app, My AGL IQ, and an Australian start-up, WattCost, provides the WattCost Beacon hardware and app that synchronously measure household energy efficiency.  

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