Vermont’s winery gets 15 fridges under government program

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Vermont’s winery gets 15 fridges under government program

When Tim Shand heard that his Yarra Valley winery might be eligible for a fridge upgrade under a state government energy efficiency program, he sent an email inquiring about a new bar fridge.

More than a dozen fridges were being delivered, according to the general manager of Punt Road Winery.

To our surprise on Tuesday afternoon two blokes in a truck pulled up and literally put 15 fridges on the deck before anyone batted an eyelid, and seriously wanted to give us seven more, he told ABC Radio's Mornings program.

He said he was still unsure what to do with the extra fridges and was concerned about the quality of the one he had plugged in.

The one fridge that could be of use to us hasn't got below 14 degrees in 24 hours, according to Shand.

In light of reports like Mr Shand's, the government agency in charge of the program has issued a warning to operators accredited under the Victorian Energy Upgrades program.

A statement from the Essential Services Commission said that large numbers of refrigerated cabinets were being dumped on the street or provided to customers who don't want them.

The body said that businesses were on notice over the reported behaviour, which it described as completely unacceptable. We will not be moving forward with the registration of Victorian energy efficiency certificates for multiple installations of refrigerated cabinets while we investigate this behaviour as an urgent priority, the statement said.

The commission will take strong enforcement action against accredited persons if we find violations of the program rules.

This could include a suspension from the program and the surrender of Victorian energy efficiency certificates. Barry Susanto, who owns Warkop cafe in Richmond, also applied for one fridge, but ended up getting three about six months ago.

He has been receiving a lot of phone calls from businesses that offer him more fridges since.

He told Mornings that we got it six months ago, and that we'll get at least one phone call every 10 days, and we're going to get at least one phone call offering a fridge.

I have friends who run businesses who can't get any, even though they've applied for it. The state opposition has criticised the program, with Shadow Environment and Climate Change Minister James Newbury describing the program as an expensive farce. He said the program had both an environmental and financial detriment.

The ESC has urged anyone with information about the dumping practices to make a report via email or phone.