Illawarra hopes to lead an "electrify everything" pilot program have been dashed after the NSW Government failed to deliver on a commitment the previous minister made to fund it.
Instead of funding for a whole suburb to go electric, saving money and carbon emissions, it appears the Government will concentrate on smaller grants spread more broadly across the state.
The news isn't good for the people who have been working for more than a year on the Electrify 2515 push, campaigning for that northern Wollongong postcode to be one of the first up.
Read more: New program to help young people access jobs
It has taken more than a month to get to the bottom of who killed the program and why.
The push follows a philosophy championed by Austinmer engineer and Biden Administration energy advisor Saul Griffith, for getting homes off gas and petrol, and powering all household items on electricity.
This, he says, would save thousands of dollars on bills - and with the drop in carbon emissions, perhaps save the planet too.
Dr Griffith's Rewiring Australia group advocates for a pilot scheme to test the plan in whole suburbs - one metropolitan, one regional and one remote - and the group Electrify 2515 signed up thousands of interested and willing households.
In February, then treasurer and energy minister Matt Kean announced $8 million would be used to fund what he called the Home Decarbonisation pilot scheme. Electrify 2515 was hopeful.
But the state election in March brought in a new Labor Government, with different priorities.
By mid-August it became clear that the Government was saying the $8 million had not been allocated, that Kean had not funded the program.
"This project was an unfunded announcement by the previous government in the lead up to the election," Environment Minister Penny Sharpe said.
"Rewiring Australia does important work. The Government is working through how we can support this work in communities across NSW."
But Mr Kean maintained he had signed the documents to fund it with his own hand, that the money came from unspent funds from the Energy Bill Buster scheme.
"The Energy Bill Buster program was closed and the surplus funds were transferred to this program," he said.
"It was a decision of mine as minister to reallocate the funds to that program.
"It was fully funded ... either the department is still planning it or Labor is planning to cut it."
So where had the money gone?
By late September Mercury successfully won access to documents in question under freedom of information laws.
Briefing notes obtained under Government Information Public Access (GIPA) process revealed Mr Kean had indeed signed a brief directing the money to be reallocated from a solar scheme within the Energy Bill Busters package, to establish a new Home Decarbonisation pilot.
That settles it, right? Wrong.
When presented with the GIPA evidence, Ms Sharpe now says that Kean assigning the money wasn't enough - that further steps needed to be taken, presumably within the Department of Planning and Environment, and this had not happened.
"The brief signed by the previous minister indicated an intention to fund the pilot program," Ms Sharpe told the Mercury.
"This does not amount to locking in funding. The previous government did not take the subsequent steps necessary to allocate the funding.
"I value the work Rewiring Australia does. We are developing a consumer energy strategy that will more holistically support household electrification and we will continue to work with Rewiring Australia and other organisations as we do that."
The Mercury put this to Mr Kean last week. He didn't respond.
So after all that, we're left with the conclusion that there may have been an intention to fund the pilot, but it wasn't completed. And while the Labor government could have funded it once it came to power, it has not.
It is not clear why such a relatively small amount of funding should been scrapped - Mr Kean pointed out it was half what the Minns Government spent attracting UFC cage fighting to Sydney this year.
But Ms Sharpe's comments appear to indicate smaller droplets of money going to broader areas across the state would be the "holistic" approach when the consumer energy strategy is released at some stage down the track
The Electrify 2515 group would be hugely disappointed after coming so close, but convener Kristen McDonald was diplomatic.
"We welcome any investment by the government to assist residents to electrify," she said.
"We believe pilots remain an important piece of the puzzle. They will give us key insights on how we rapidly transition all the diverse households in real world communities off fossil fuels to ensure electrification can be done at scale and cost effectively.
"Electrification is the fastest way we are going to decarbonise our economy so we need a number of government measures, including pilots, to urgently bring this on."
Whether the Government approaches this with urgency remains to be seen.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.