Opinion: Burning issue of inequity
Queensland households’ solar bill shock
Mr McArdle said removing the cost of purchasing the high-priced energy produced by these solar households would put downward pressure on all electricity bills.
Solar advocates have today slammed the decision to scrap the 8c feed-in tariff.
Lindsay Soutar, the national director of Solar Citizens, said it would be difficult for households with solar to negotiate fair deals with retailers.
“There are 40,000 homes that are about to lose the already too small financial return they receive from providing clean energy back into the grid,” she said
“And there are thousands of families in Queensland who want to make the move to solar who will now be forced to negotiate directly with retailers for any sort of financial return.
“This is incredibly unfair. It is obvious that it will be difficult for individual households to get a good deal from their power company.
The 284,090 households that receive the 44c tariff will not be affected, with the State Government keeping its commitment to continue paying the more generous amount to those who adopted solar before the scheme was closed.
The move will switch the responsibility for paying for rooftop solar power from government-owned distributors to retailers.
It will affect almost 40,000 households throughout southeast Queensland that currently receive 8c per kilowatt hour for the energy produced by their rooftop solar panels.
Mr McArdle last night told The Courier-Mail that the 8c tariff would have added an extra $110 million to all power bills over six years, had it continued.
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Retailers currently get this power for free from distributors and pay solar customers up to 10c per kilowatt hour extra for their power — meaning some customers get up to 18c.
“At the moment what happens is that … the feed-in tariff that is paid under the 8c is recovered by the networks and then passed through to Queenslanders in their power bills,” Mr McArdle said.
“Placing it on to the retailers will mean there is no pass-through back to consumers who are not using solar.”
From July 1, solar households in the Energex distribution network will not get a regulated rate for their energy and must negotiate with retailers. A new regulated rate will be set for the 10,000 solar households on the 8c feed-in tariff in the Ergon Energy area, where there is currently no competition.
Mr McArdle said removing the 8c feed-in tariff in the southeast would foster competition ahead of the removal of regulated prices in July 2015.
“I don’t think (retailers) will abandon solar customers, because paying the feed-in tariff is part of their market strategy to attract customers to their contracts,” he said.
“Customers can then start to play retailers off against each other to get a better deal, and we may well find that the feed-in tariff increases with competition.’’
couriermail.com.au 6 Mar 2014
Another contract / agreement scrapped by the corporation commonly referred to as the Queensland 'government'.