Victoria fridge discount program suspended

The interior of a fridge, shoing food and drinks.
An investigation has begun into the rorting of a Victorian energy-efficient appliances scheme. -AAP Image

A Victorian program offering discounts for energy-efficient fridges has been suspended following claims of rorting.

The incentives have been removed from the government's Energy Upgrades program following reports of providers dumping fridges or removing incentives for 'plug-in' refrigerated cabinets.

It comes after the regulator and administrator of the program put businesses on notice over the alleged behaviour and launched an official investigation.

In some instances, businesses reported receiving up to 40 fridges they never applied for, raising questions about rorting of the program.

Subsequently, the Essential Services Commission paused all registration of energy efficiency certificates for multiple installations as part of its investigation.

"The commission will not hesitate to take strong enforcement action against accredited persons where we find breaches of the program rules," it has said.

A Code of Conduct will come into effect for businesses working under the program on Friday, alongside legislative reforms and improved communications to consumers.

Minister for Energy Lily D'Ambrosio said the program, which was created to replace ageing and energy-inefficient appliances, has helped more than two million households and businesses across Victoria.

"We're constantly reviewing the VEU program to ensure that it's delivering good value for Victorians and delivering the intended emission reductions," she said.