QCA lifts solar feed in tariff after RenewEconomy points out error

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Queensland Competition Authority to lift solar feed in tariff for Ergon solar households after RenewEconomy points out error.

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The Queensland Competition Authority is to revise its proposed feed in tariff affecting more than 30,000 solar households in the Ergon Energy network after conceding errors in its calculations pointed out by RenewEconomy on Monday.

RenewEconomy questioned why the QCA had decided to change its tariff from 6.53c/kWh to 6.03c/kWh. The QCA justified it on the basis of lower network losses. That could be valid, but in this case, the reduction of network losses, as RenewEconomy pointed out, simply hadn’t occurred to the extent claimed.

QCA chairman Malcolm Roberts rang RenewEconomy on Tuesday to say that there had been an “embarrassing” error in calculations. The feed in tariff would be revised to 6.348c/kWh. It will be formally announced later on Tuesday.

“It was  surprising to me that we might have got it wrong,” Roberts said. “To the extent that you helped identify the error, I would like to thank you.”

The tariff will still be lower than last year’s tariff, despite an increase in the wholesale price component.

As RenewEconomy pointed out, the cutting of the tariffs due to reduced network losses is ironic because it is distributed energy, including solar, which is helping reduce those losses, which often run at 10, and up to 15 per cent, according to the length of the network.

Still, RenewEconomy is glad it has helped save consumers money.

Ergon has 106,000 solar households in its network, with close to 400MW of capacity. Most are on the premium feed in tariffs which will be unchanged until 2029 (unless Ergon buys them out).

However, more than 30,000 households get the FiT set annually by the QCA. Based on their estimated capacity of 120MW on those homes each year, if they exported between half and two thirds of that output back to the grid, that is a saving of nearly $500,000 for those households.

Addendum: QCA later confirmed the revised tariffs and the proposed 6.348c/kWh.

Roberts said in a statement: “The QCA mistakenly used the wrong energy loss factor when calculating the new rate for 2015-16. When buying energy from household solar systems, retailers avoid paying for energy lost over the transmission and distribution system – the QCA believes the price retailers pay for solar energy should include that saving.

“Unfortunately, the tariff rate announced on Friday by the QCA applied the wrong loss factor, relating to larger business customers.

“This error was detected after queries from the editor of Renew Economy.”

 

 

 

 

 

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5 Comments
  1. properly managed livestock 4 years ago

    Congratulations to the team at RenewEconomy for spotting this error, and acknowledgement to QCA chairman Malcolm Roberts for responding professionally and promptly when the error was pointed out to him.

  2. Jennifer Gow 4 years ago

    The feedin tariff level is even more a studied insult. The only reason we re still connected to the grid is that we are on the old feedin tariff. However we were sorely tempted when the connection charges were jacked up by 66%. The cost of battery storage and solar panels keeps going down while the cost of power from the grid is going nowhere but up. It seems that the QCA wants to roll on the death spiral.

  3. Kevin Brown 4 years ago

    Well done Giles! When battery storage rolls out the QCA should rule on the benefit afforded to the grid such as stabilisation and avoided need for investment in poles and wires to meet increasing peak demand. Perhaps they could direct networks to reduce fixed charges to consumers who have installed battery storage?

    • Paul Lemming 4 years ago

      Kevin , Raises the question , if you install batteries , and supply 100% or very close to 100% of your own energy from your Solar & Battery bank , and then utility is able to pull energy from your system to balance the Grid when they need it , then who should be paying a service fee ?
      Currently you pay $0.91 a day to be connected in QLD, but with this scenario aren’t they connected to you ,and you will be the primary supplier of the energy in this relationship ? makes you think doesn’t it ? they charge me $0.28 per kw of energy , but I can only charge them $0.0634 for mine.
      Makes the case for total disconnection very easy , no service fee ($332 per year)

  4. Chris Fraser 4 years ago

    Now there are also other journalistic forays which may imply QCA methodologies are dodgy. But how heartening to think that those – who really ought to know their business – find RE such a good read !

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