THERE'S no easy way to wean large buildings off gas in the short term, the City of Greater Bendigo has warned as prices surge.
For now, it believes it can absorb a winter price spike some experts have said could cripple some household budgets.
"But should the market adjust and higher prices become the norm, then this will place additional budget pressures on services," council chief executive Craig Niemann said.
Experts warned back in 2020 that larger council buildings could be exposed if gas supplies tightened, triggering an investigation into potential options.
The city now aims to add no gas fittings to new council builds, and is trying to shift its small facilities off the energy source, Mr Niemann said.
"For example transitioning gas cook tops to electric and installing electric reverse-cycle heating and cooling systems," he said.
That would effectively shift those systems to green energy because the council offsets all carbon fired electricity with wind power.
But bigger buildings like indoor swimming pools are not as easy to deal with.
For example, Kangaroo Flat's Gurri Wanyarra Wellbeing Centre doubled the council's carbon footprint when it opened late last decade.
The council has been working with the pool's operators ever since to reduce power usage.
It is also working on a plan to electrify all its facilities by 2030.
That includes at the Bendigo Art Gallery, which could potentially make the switch separately if plans for a renovation win funding from other levels of government.
In the meantime, spiralling energy prices are causing problems for other levels of government.
The incoming federal ministry has blamed its predecessors for gas price hikes.
"This is the chickens coming home to roost when it comes to almost a decade now of climate change and energy policy failure from our predecessors," treasurer Jim Chalmers has said.
"There is no simple mechanism that would immediately take this pressure off the gas price."
Opposition leader Peter Dutton has rejected that claim, saying previous governments had dealt with gas price rises.
"You're now seeing a panicked new government," he told the ABC on Monday morning.
"Fair enough, they haven't had their feet under the desk for too long and they don't understand the options."
- With Australian Associated Press
If you're reading this it's because you're a loyal subscriber to the Bendigo Advertiser. If you want to get more out of your subscription join the discussion on the Bendigo Advertiser's subscriber group on Facebook today.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.