Australian utilities erect barricades in bid to halt solar storm | RenewEconomy

Australian utilities erect barricades in bid to halt solar storm

Australia’s utilities are acting to halt the rapid uptake of solar PV – proposing higher network charges, refusing connections, downsizing rooftop proposals, removing discounts and forcing tariff changes. Are they halting the death spiral or accelerating it? Is it already too late?


Australia’s major electricity utilities are acting to brake or even halt the rapid uptake of solar PV – pushing for higher network charges, refusing connections and downsizing rooftop proposals, as well as removing discounts and forcing tariff changes on solar consumers.

The push to contain the rush for solar PV – which is occurring even after most subsidies have been removed – comes as major generators, network operators and electricity retailers admit that solar PV is upsetting their decades-old business model – which is based on a high-volume, low margin business that relies on continued growth.

The latest example comes from the Australian Energy Market Commission, the body that forms policy on behalf of the incumbent players, which canvasses higher charges to the more than one million households, and a growing number of businesses, that install solar PV systems.

AEMC chairman John Pierce on Wednesday unveiled a “strageic priorities” document that highlights solar PV as one of the most pressing issues for the electricity industry – both for providers and consumers – and suggests that network tariffs in particular do not reflect the reduced use of the grid caused by solar households.

“Distributed generation is blurring the traditional delineation between consumers and producers of electricity,” Pierce said in a speech to the East Coast Energy Outlook conference in Sydney

“One source of stakeholder concern is that network costs of consumers with rooftop solar PV are subsidised by other consumers because the full costs and benefits of distributed generation (such as solar PV) are not reflected in the prices consumers pay for electricity.”

The solar industry is outraged by the singling out of solar, because they say it is clear that the greatest cross subsidy in the electricity industry goes to users of air-conditioners: The government white paper conceded that each $1,500 air con system imposes five times that amount in network costs on other users.

However, the incumbent industry has not complained about that, because air-conditioners add to demand, and increase the incentive to make more investments (in poles and wires and generation) and increase revenue – even if the customer ends up paying through much higher network charges.

However, solar PV subtracts from demand and challenges that business model.  This raises the question of equity. Network operators, despite having over-invested in a network, want the right to claw back that investment. Social equity goups are anxious that low income households are not burdened with increased cost. The solar industry, and its burgeoning solar constituency – which now numbers nearly 3 million people across the country– does not want to be unfairly targeted. The solar industry also points to the $1 billion in annual cross subsidies to support grids in regional Queensland and Western Australia.

“This is pretty outrageous,” said Muriel Watt, the chairperson of the Australian Photovoltaic Association. “We cannot have a regulatory system where every perturbation to the ‘norm’ is hit with a new charge.

“What will happen with EVs, storage, net zero energy houses (even with no PV), and any other new technologies that come along?  We need to develop a regulatory framework that deals fairly with all supply and demand on the grid and where those who contribute more to the costs of that grid pay more.”

Solar PV – along with battery storage and energy efficiency – is emerging as the defining issue for the electricity industry across the globe.

In the same conference that Pierce addressed, a US energy consultant, Fereidoon Sioshansi from Merlo Energy, said the electricity industry in the US recognised that it may already be too late to save their business.

It was becoming obvious that consumers were finding it cheaper to supply their own energy than to rely on the grid. He pointed to the millions of people world-wide who no longer use land lines for telecommunications.

Still, utilities in Australia are trying to push this inevitability as far back as possible. In the absence of an alternative business model are relying on regulatory protection, supported by the degree of regulatory capture to protect their business models.

There is increasing evidence that utilities across Australia are refusing solar connections, or forcing solar users to change tariffs in an attempt to make the uptake of solar less attractive.

Green MP Greg Barber raised the issue in Victorian parliament last week, citing 22 instances in western Victoria where he said the local distributor Powercorp had either rejected outright applications by homes and rural businesses to install solar, or had forced the array to be downsized.

An application for a 30kW system in Warrenheip was approved only for 15 kW, an 8kW proposal in Invermay was refused in total, an 8kW array in Rockbank was downsized to 3kW, and a 6kW proposal in Amphitheatre was downsized to1.5 kW.

Barber called on the Victorian government to publicly release all information about the supposed limitations on the grid that it has used as an excuse to oppose these solar panel installations.

He also called for a regulatory test each time a distribution businesses wants to spend $1 million or more upgrading the grid, so that alternatives such as solar panel, combining those with battery storage and energy efficiency could be evaluated.

“The Liberals seem to love red tape when it gets in the road of renewable energy development,” Barber told parliament. “They are back there providing a backstop for the coal industry every time one of these renewable energy developments gets pushed away, knocked back or enormous cost through red tape is added onto it, and it is about time that the private monopoly power companies were brought under control by this minister through the legislation that he already controls.”

In WA, solar companies say potential clients are being penalised for putting in PV, because utilities we deal are forcing customers to renegotiate their tariffs before allowing them to install in PV. They call is “unbundling”.  It basically sets higher fixed charges and lowers the kWh rate and negates and financial benefits of going solar.

“It’s incredible! “said one installer, who asked not to be named. “ Not only does this knock down the value of solar, but energy efficiency measures will be affected as well. It’s blatant and it’s showing utilities need to respond with drastic measures to keep their profits based on business as usual.” It is believed that the solar industry is to hold a meeting with WA utilities next week to discuss the issue.

In NSW, there are reports from advocacy groups that solar installers that households wanting to install solar being denied discounts offered to general consumers.

The AEMC paper says the increase in rooftop solar PV was one of the most frequently raised topics in stakeholder workshops and submissions. Two common issues were the structure of network tariffs and the impact on the network costs paid by those with and without solar, and the  subsidies, such as feed-in tariffs, for renewable energy, and the “inequity” of cross-subsidisation across consumers with and without solar PV. There was a concern that solar users would use the grid as a cheap battery.

There has been discussion about increased fixed charges, but some in the industry recognise that this will simply remove the incentive to conserve energy, be efficient and will just inspire more people to leave the grid.

Others are pointing to a new idea surrounding the “capacity” of a “pipe” that would link consumers – households or businesses- to a grid. This would limit consumption, but would reward those who chose not to use the grid as much, and put appropriate charges on those – with huge demand from air-con and pool pumps – that consume large amounts.

The solar industry is drawing to a similar conclusion that network tariffs need to be reframed, but not necessarily in the manner suggested. It is working on a study that will show that solar PV can actually reduce costs in some areas, and overall would add a minimal amount of grid costs on the average consumer.

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  1. barrie harrop 7 years ago

    Too little too late, expecting many large Industrial customers to go off-grid any time soon,with energy savings of over 50%,and at a domestic level in the next 3-5 years this base will have the ability to go off-grid.

    Just one Industrial customer we are working with we are forecasting savings of over $25m per year.

  2. Jennifer Gow 7 years ago

    The only reason we are not installing extra panels and an off grid system now is that we can hang on to our original feedin tariff until we move houses. This means as soon as we move we are going off grid. If the Queensland government moves to reduce our feedin tariff or jack up network costs we with go off grid straight away even with our air conditioner.

    • Stan Hlegeris 7 years ago

      Jennifer’s approach is correct, and there are many more people thinking exactly the same way as she is.

      For those who don’t have PV systems yet, the best approach is to skip the whole import/export stage entirely. A number of manufacturers offer “islanding” inverters which allow you to use your own electricity as needed (diverting the extra to batteries, if you choose) and draw power from the grid only when you need it. These systems do not export power to the grid so they’re not subject to any limitation as to size, and you don’t need permission from your electricity retailer.

      You can then wait and buy a battery storage system later, enabling you to go off the grid altogether.

      The experience of remaining connected to the grid is going to be ever more awful. The nimble among us will be spared all that aggro.

    • Harry00 7 years ago

      You guys make me laugh. Having experience off grid living for a few years its nothing but hell. Constant maintenance, you cant live the lazy lifestyle like most aussies do but rather you’re constantly monitoring your usage. We experienced a loss of power more often than we did living in suburban Melbourne. Anyway so I say, good luck with that Jen

      • RobS 7 years ago

        It takes a little attention however if your constantly monitoring usage it means either your panels, your batteries or your loads are incorrectly sized, or a combination of all three. With an appropriately sized system to consumption then apart from the odd battery check and water top up an off grid system requires barely any attention.

        • Bob_Wallace 7 years ago

          If you live with stretches of cloudy days then there’s some necessary monitoring in order to determine when to fire up the backup.

          Then there’s the sunny months. Push the equalize button once a month. Check and top up battery water every three months.

          Sound’s like Harry doesn’t have his act together.

          • RobS 7 years ago

            My main experience with off grid living was aboard a cruising yacht and the battery management system had the ability to auto start the generator if the batteries fell below 40%, it is a common feature on off grid inverters, however it can also be managed manually and that takes a little attention.

          • Harry00 7 years ago

            I lost power twice in 4 years, compared to loosing power twice in 10 years whilst living in Melbourne.

          • RobS 7 years ago

            Wow, a power outage every two years on average constitutes “living in hell” and “constant maintenance”? get a grip.

          • Harry00 7 years ago

            Overall life is better when you have a reliable supply and have someone else take care of all that crap for you.

          • John 7 years ago

            Yeah, We get outages around 3-4 times a year, and that IS on grid!
            FWIW we have a grid connect system with a 60c/kw FIT, and will make changes to our usage when the FIT drops.

      • Bob_Wallace 7 years ago

        I’ve been off the grid for over 20 years. I agree that it is a lot more hassle than being connected, but experiencing power loss?

        I’ve been ‘black’ only one time in over 20 years and then for less than an hour. I undersized the meter shunt and blew it out when I turned on the table saw while the washing machine was running. Took a few minutes to find the problem and then a minute or two to jump the shunt. Had power but no remote meter.

        UPS dropped off a larger shunt a couple of days later and I had my meter back.

  3. RobS 7 years ago

    Oh they are going to shoot themselves in the foot in the most spectacular way possible. The distributed solar customers may have been damaging to their business model, however their solution will simply make going off grid entirely even more attractive and that will be disastrous for their business model. They are about to have stranded assets at a scale never seen in any industry in history. I deliberately bought an upgraded inverter with my system specifically so that if my utility changes the rules in a few years I can add a simple storage add on and go off grid entirely. its staggering how short sighted they are being here.

    • Harry00 7 years ago

      lol you make it sound so easy. With the click of a finger you can go off grid. Yeah yeah, unless you have a large amount of panels, have a very efficient house, have a backup generator and live somewhere like Nth QLD then you should be fine. Othwerwise stop talking crap

      • Sean 7 years ago

        yeah, but, no, but.

        most australian houses are crap.
        crap insulation, crap appliances, crap heating, crap cooling, crap ventilation, crap design.

        pull even a few of these out and its much easier than you make out.

  4. patrickg 7 years ago

    I’d be interested in your thoughts, Giles, do you expect some kind of regulatory moves to block off-grid migrations in the future? We run 100% renewable power, and it’s a difficult job, ascertaining when the right time to go off-grid would be. Batteries are getting better and cheaper, but the regulatory environment is getting worse; I’m afraid by time it makes the best financial sense to go off grid, the option may be denied to us.

    • RobS 7 years ago

      People can simply refuse to pay, when you move house you request your power to be cancelled and until the new owner calls and requests it there is no power connection or billing to the property. If people generated and stored all their own power and utilities tried to lock them into paying for a service they made no use of there would be a revolt.

      • Sean 7 years ago

        AFAIK you cant send power out of your property boundary by law.

        • RobS 7 years ago

          I don’t understand your point, do you mean you beleive you can not export electrons off your property not the grid? You most certainly can, 1.5 million homes already have grid connected solar systems that allow them to export surplus power. Or do you mean it’s illegal to prevent utility workers from accessing your property?

          • Sean 7 years ago

            other than being a registered power distributor, you cant send electrons over property boundaries.

            ie, you cant get a bunch of your neighbours around for a beer, and convince them to throw a bunch of extension leads over to your house and power the whole street from your solar install.

          • RobS 7 years ago

            Well I nor anyone else in the thread suggested wiring the neighborhood with extension cords so I’m confused about why your raising it. However when you have a grid connect solar system if your solar system produces more then you are consuming at any point in time the surplus runs the meter backwards and you send electrons back out into the grid over your boundary where it travels to your neighbors properties.

    • Mike 7 years ago

      YES! Keep us informed of this brilliant idea!

    • Giles 7 years ago

      Entirely possible Patrick. My understanding is that properties are obliged to pay for the sewage that goes past their houses, whether they use it or not. WA energy minister Mike Nahan canvassed such a thought recently. Don’t rule it out – their failure to imagine alternatives is absolute.

    • Martin 7 years ago

      Regulatory move by the Spanish conservative government: “Private individuals who fail to hook their solar panels up to the national grid to be metered and taxed could face fines of up to €30 million ($40 million) under the new law.”

  5. Albert Sjoberg 7 years ago

    Can someone explain the higher network cost to a solar enabled site to me please?
    My home can draw as much as 30 Amp peak, when boiling a kettle and the water heater (Controlled Load) is on. At least 30A is the highest current I have logged in the last 18 months. The utility needed to provide a network that could at least provide that peak. (I have an 80A fuse on the incoming feed).

    My 5kW solar system will at most attempt to export 22A.
    Because I have solar does not in any way mean that I require a better network than would have been required if I had not installed Solar.
    If I had installed Gas for heating and cooking, my electricity portion would be much less, and that too would mean less units purchased from the utility.

    Add to that the fact that the energy I have supplied to the grid is most likely consumed in my neighbourhood where it is sold to other customers at $0.36 while they only pay me $0.06. Surely the extra $0.30 they make on every solar kWh I put on the grid should more than outweigh the supposed net loss in the ‘Network’ portion of my energy bill.

    None of this appears to make any sense.

    • Sean 7 years ago

      the additional cost is becuase you use the 30 amps at night, but not during the day the electric company is only getting money off you during the night
      however the network charges are decided based on an estimated load all day.

      • Albert Sjoberg 7 years ago

        Thanks for the reply Sean.
        If I purchase a gas water heater, or even a solar water heater, that too will use less electricity, about 8 units each day. That will affect my load costs too.
        I am on a flat rate not time of use, so there is no distinction for peak/off peak or shoulder. So again I am not paying as much to maintain the grid.
        With gas they may still have the supply contract, so that may offset any supposed network cost… If I go solar they do not even get that.
        Yet their fight is specifically with PV. Their arguments still seem invalid.

  6. Alex 7 years ago

    Surely if the utilities’ managers were smart THEY would be offering solar leasing products to customers at a fixed rate, no up-front costs, guaranteed set price for next … years. It isn’t rocket science to work out return on investment, set profit margins, and even negotiate whole suburb programs that people can sign onto. For their investors surfing the wave of change has to be better than getting caught in the whirlpool of the spiral of death that is the future of business as usual.

    • RobS 7 years ago

      Ah but with a liberal government they can smell the RET’s blood in the water and they, like the liberals, live in the blissful misapprehension that no one will buy solar without subsidy, oh how delicious their bewilderment will be when the RET is canned and solar installations continue to rise unabated.

  7. MrMauricio 7 years ago

    They could actually JOIN the Solar revolution as some progressive utilities in the U.S have done-instead of fighting tooth and nail to keep their archaic doomed business model(even if they are supported by a foolish retarded 1950’s oriented government).
    If you want to see the future of electricity check out what is happening in California 33% renewable and STORAGE requirements for electricity providers.

  8. SM 7 years ago

    How can we be confident that network investment plans are framed around providing the opportunity for more solar? With networks putting up tariff barriers to solar its unlikely their investment plans are solar friendly. Every $ they spend locks in the status quo for decades.

  9. Harry00 7 years ago

    Rolls eyes… Do you think they reject solar applications for the fun of it? Surely you know that networks have a limit to the amount of solar they can handle, surely you know this will cause problems to others on the network if the limit is exceeded? Giles you aren’t mentioning the full picture. Either you don’t even know what you re talking about of you just have a biased view.. People without solar are paying the price for those with it, be this through the FIT.

    • RobS 7 years ago

      People without coal plants are paying the price for people with coal plants too, whats your point? My feed in tariff is 8c/kwh, almost identical to the wholesale rate my utility pays for power, no one is paying for my solar panels but me so why don’t you stop talking crap.
      Oh and absolute BS that any utility in Australia has actually reached absolute saturation with renewables, they are rejecting solar applications to protect profits.

      • Harry00 7 years ago

        The extra costs of rooftop PV on others is an unneeded burden. I don’t want to be paying for your or anyone else’s FIT. And uh when did I mention a utility has reached absolute saturation? There are these things called transformers. Eg if a transformer supplying 10 houses, and 8 of those 10 have solar, then the voltage for the 2 without solar will rise to unexceptional levels. Either the utility will upgrade the network or reject the solar application.

        • RobS 7 years ago

          If a transformer is supplying 10 houses and 8 have solar then during the daytime peak when the transformer usually heats up the solar panels will be producing power behind the transformer which actually unloads the transformer, reduces its heat build up and delays the need for grid upgrades.
          If the FiT is the same as the wholesale power rate then you arent paying any extra for it, the utility has to buy every kWh of power, in fact if it buys it off the NEM spot market then in the afternoon the utility is regularly paying between $0.50 and up to $12 per watt on peak demand days, at those times every generator regardless of their operation costs receives that price, except soar which despite producing at its peak at exactly those times to continues to receive its fixed rate $0.08/kWh, hardly paying more for others solar is it, in fact most solar is bought by utilities at a relative steal to conventional power off the spot market.

          • Harry00 7 years ago

            Distribution transformers are installed accordingly and would rarely ever need to be upgraded. They are designed to handle extreme heat. The local network wasn’t designed for large amounts of solar generation and this is causing issues where penetration is high.

            There has been many reports released that show a break down of the average electricity bill. The FIT has contributed to an increase in the last few years. And this would’ve increased if the FIT wasn’t dropped.

          • RobS 7 years ago

            Harry, you have flawed logic and I dont think you realise it, just because the FiT has added a cost to bills does not mean that without the FiT bills would be lower, if those electrons were not being bought from solar production they would have to be bought on the spot market and at solar production peak on summer afternoons the spot market price goes as high as $12 per kwh and is rarely lower then $0.50/kWh. Germany is the best example of this, the cost of power on summer afternoons has plummetted for everyone because solar has reduced peak demand so much.

          • Harry00 7 years ago

            Flawed logic? The price per kwh has slightly increased due to the FIT, in other words without the FIT bills would be lower. There are a large amount of people with FIT’s higher than the retail cost of energy and that’s the biggest contribution to this.

          • RobS 7 years ago

            No, You are making a flawed assumption that because the FiT adds a cost bills would be lower without it, the flaw is that the Kwh’s must be bought somewhere, if the alternative source is more expensive then the FiT actually lowers bills, on summer afternoons the spot market alternative source is SIGNIFICANTLY higher then solar power even at the highest FiT’s.

          • Harry00 7 years ago

            You don’t understand. How often does the spot price spike extremely high? a few times a year. So the 56% of solar households in Vic selling their excess energy for 66 cents and their neighbors buying it for 26 cents, there’s a loss occurring and that loss has to come from somewhere.

          • RobS 7 years ago

            It spikes to $10+ a few times a year, it regularly runs above $0.60 most afternoons for 3-4 months of the year, which just happens to be the highest output days of the year for solar power and the days which necessitate over 90% of grid upgrades.

          • Harry00 7 years ago

            In the case of a 1 for 1 FIT or the current (not so good) 8c FIT your statement is true. But what Im trying to get at is that it’s been proven that the total annual bill of a household is a certain amount higher due to the FIT. Now this is probably mainly because of the significant amount of people on the 66 FIT.

          • RobS 7 years ago

            What I’m trying to explain to you is that the statement “the FiT adds x amount to the average bill” is NOT the same as the bill would be lower without it, the power would have to be bought on spot market and grid upgrades that have been delayed due to high distributed generation would have had to have been funded.

          • Harry00 7 years ago

            I know it’s not the same and I understand your point. But the reports I’ve read have said the FIT has added to bills in the way that bills would be lower without it. And that is understandable when you consider that 56% of solar households in Vic are on the 66 cent FIT. And solar has not yet delayed grid upgrades in AU.

          • RobS 7 years ago

            Solar has delayed the need for upgrades, consumption fell 5 last year over half of which was because of solar production, the issue is that the utilities went ahead and did upgrades anyway. Most of the “reports that dump on the effects of PV are produced by the utilities for which PV represents a threat to their business model, always read such material critically and with a grain of salt. The $0.60+ tariffs were too high by todays standards however they were necessary when solar cost $10-$15 per watt to get some early adopters and stimulate the market which has allowed prices to now fall to below $1.50 per watt installed, a price at which solar is cost competitive with retail power.

          • Harry00 7 years ago

            Peak demand occurs at a time when solar isn’t generating much for example summer at 30% and winter at 0%. Peak demand as you said is the cause of 90% of grid upgrades not annual consumption. And solar has only slightly reduced demand and is not the cause of half the decline. I am not basing my entire opinion on these reports as some are inaccurate as you mention but it’s quite obvious. The 66 cent tariff was too high, but the 56% of households with it as ill mention again is having an affect on our bills that would not be there without the FIT.

          • Sean 7 years ago

            you have to be joking.
            peak summer demand USED to be the middle of the day when it was stinking fucking hot. When the sun was out. now the solar production has largely melted that peak away.

            the remaining peak is at about 6pm.

          • Harry00 7 years ago

            Peak is at around 6 every day. On a hot day add in aircons and that causes mid day and peak at 6 to rise. Read AEMO’s reports and they even state that peak has always been around 4-6pm on the hottest of days

          • Stuart 7 years ago

            When did peak demand use to be in the middle of the day ? In the last 15 years, peak demand has been between 4-6 pm. Check it for yourself below. Temperature does not peak at midday anyway.


          • Sean 7 years ago

            you are almost there harry.
            WHY does the spot price rarely get up really high?
            because we have 9GW of surplus generation.
            solar contributes to that surplus.
            increased supply means lower prices.
            congrats, you just learned markets 101

          • Harry00 7 years ago

            According to the clean energy council, 56% of solar systems in VIC where installed pre Jan 2012. Or during the time the 66 Cent FIT was available.

          • Bob_Wallace 7 years ago

            What we’re seeing in Germany is that end-user solar is greatly reducing demand during sunny day normal peak hours and allowing utilities to avoid purchasing expensive power.

            Solar saved Germany over 6 billion euros in 2012 in reduced wholesale electricity cost. Those savings flow to people who don’t have solar. (Or will once Germany works through some current PPAs.)

          • Harry00 7 years ago

            Last I heard Germany had the highest electrical prices in Europe and that their grids reliability has been declining in recent years due to their massive green transition.

          • RobS 7 years ago

            Yes their stability has been dropping because they have reached 30+% solar generation, everyone agrees once you go above that level storage or other forms of advanced grid stability management is required, arguing that solar production in the US or Australia at 0.3% or 0.6% penetration is a grid stability risk because Germany has issues at 30+% is plain silly.

          • Harry00 7 years ago

            I never said anything about Australia having a grid stability risk. Solar is causing local network issues thus why applications for solar systems have been revised down or declined.

          • Bob_Wallace 7 years ago

            Germany has high residential electricity prices for many years, stretching back well before renewables entered the scene. Residential users pay a lot of tax. Germany’s industrial electricity rate is lower than the EU27 average.

            Germany’s residential rate is 36c US cents/kWh. Their industrial rate is 8.7c.

            And Germany’s grid reliability is about the best in Europe.

        • Sean 7 years ago

          you obviously have no fucking idea what you are on about.
          transformers work both ways, if the voltage on one side is higher, then it will back feed through the network.
          the only time the two houses on the string would get a higher voltage is when the whole grid was higher.

          what is happening is that when the solar systems are producing power the amount of load on the whole string is reduced, reducing resistive losses.

          The voltage was high the whole time. Its only when everyone stops using power that you notice.

          • Harry00 7 years ago

            Sean what the bloody hell are on you about mate. The higher the load on a transformer the lower the voltage drops. Add in large amounts of distributed generation as well as the original trasnformer and there’s that much extra capacity the voltage will rise. Probably due to the transformer being designed to have a certain load on it alll the time with solar now taking that away. And youre kidding right? voltage does not “back feed”

          • Bmozza 7 years ago


            I’ve only scanned over this thread of communication between you and others and with a relatively limited understanding of the electricity industry but a better understanding of the free market and basic logic, I’d have to say your argument is both flawed and incorrect.

          • Harry00 7 years ago

            Whys that Bmozza? Please explain

          • Sean 7 years ago

            transformers are a two way street. controlling for the ratio, (eg, 11kv to 415V) if the voltage is higher on one side than the other, the power will flow that way. if the 415 side is lower, it will flow in that direction.

            higher up the food chain, the transformers are voltage regulating and automatically adjust for resistive losses

          • Harry00 7 years ago

            That’s incorrect because power plants output something like 14 kv from their generators which then goes into a transformer and is stepped up to something like 220kv. As for my local transformer, 22kv is being stepped down to 415v across the 3 phases. Point being voltage has nothing to do with the direction power is flowing.

  10. Martin 7 years ago

    Quote from the Strategic Priorities for Energy Market Development 2013 report: “In particular, stakeholders are concerned that network costs of consumers with solar PV are cross-subsidised by other consumers, due to current inefficiencies in network tariffs.”

    Question 1: Who cross-subsidises the network costs of energy-efficient households without PV?

    Question 2: Should energy-efficient households without PV be made to pay an extra levy in order to eliminate their ‘unfair’ network cost advantage?

  11. Miles Harding 7 years ago

    Consider the UN’s comments on bush fires and climate change, which is exactly in line with IPCC projections and then consider our federal government’s response:
    a) Hunt: don’t tell me about it (fingers in ears and la la la la…)
    b) Abbott: it’s all crap; at least he’s consistent 🙂

    It would appear that federal (and state) pollies have no concern of being ridiculed as asses by the rest of the world. Nothing, however regressive, should surprise us.

    Banning PV installations, increasing network charges and presumably lowering import tariffs sends completely the wrong message and is hopelessly out of touch with the current reality, which makes it a dead certainty.

  12. Gongite 7 years ago

    Anyone wanting to take a stand against the stupid AEMC proposal to charge solar homes more can sign this petition:

  13. Bmozza 7 years ago

    Here is a listing of the 13 panel members appointed by the AER who will be representing the public’s voice in this matter of increased network charges for solar pv owners.

    To see who they are go to

    Question is how do we contact them to voice the concerns of over 1.1 million solar pv owners?

    Spread the word and spread the link…

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