Queensland energy czar attacks rooftop solar tariffs - again | RenewEconomy

Queensland energy czar attacks rooftop solar tariffs – again

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Queensland energy chief calls rooftop solar tariffs a transfer of wealth from non-solar households. His suggested changes would see network charges fall for households with air conditioning but no rooftop solar, and rise for households with rooftop solar and no air conditioning.

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The Queensland Labor government held out hope for a better deal for rooftop solar households after its surprise election victory earlier this year.

Apart from its campaign position of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030, it also promised a “fair price of solar”. But it may have to overcome resistance from its most senior bureaucrat in the department of energy to achieve that.

Paul Simshauser, appointed in July to head the Department of Energy and Water Supply, has just published a new paper that attacks the “transfer of wealth” from households without solar to those with rooftop solar.

Controversially, the paper also recommends new tariff structures that will see network fees fall for those households with air conditioning but no rooftop solar. Simshauser suggests that, under his model, network fees should rise for households with rooftop solar but no air conditioning.

The recommendations are sure to upset those in the solar industry, who are concerned about a range of initiatives in Queensland. This includes the sharp rise in network fees, the reduction of feed-in tariffs to just 5.3c/kWh, and the lack of recognition for the value of solar.

Simshauser is a former chief economist for AGL Energy, who once famously described solar tariffs as a “scam.”

The language used in his latest paper is more judicious, but it still got endorsement from Richard Tol, the controversial economist who advises the climate denial lobby group, the Global Warming Policy Foundation, and was retweeted by the likes of the Galileo Movement, the GPWF equivalent in Australia, and climate contrarian Bjorn Lomborg.

richard tol tweet

The thrust of Simshauser’s arguments are that tariffs need to be changed, and to use “demand” tariffs so that they become “cost reflective”.

Few people, and certainly not in the solar industry, argue with that. The question is, how to ensure that these new demand tariffs are constructed in a way that are in fact, cost reflective, and not just a revenue haul for the networks.

And this goes to the problem with Simhauser’s analysis, and those of others like him – such as the SA Power Networks, which proposes a similar regime, and the NSW networks, who have introduced an even more regressive regime known as declining block tariffs that reward people who use the most energy with lower prices.

Their first assumption is that the network revenue should be protected, despite overwhelming evidence – as highlighted by Mark Byrne’s excellent analysis on Ausgrid – that those networks have been overbuilt, based on misplaced assumptions about rising demand, and therefore should be written down.

The primary reason those networks were overbuilt was because of the growing use of air conditioning. The federal government way back in 2012 conceded that this represents a massive cross subsidy, with every $1,500 unit of air conditioning adding around $6,000 to network costs.

Networks were happy with that because it meant more revenue, and Simshauser doesn’t want to increase network fees for those homes with air conditioning and no solar PV.

He wants to lower them. Instead, he wants to increase network fees – by up to $225 a year – for solar households, who will face rises in network fees whether they have air conditioning or not.

Under his “three-part” tariff system, network bills for households with no solar and no air conditioning will fall by $152.49, network bills for households with no solar but with air conditioning will also fall by $44.75.

Simshauser says such households are “beneficiaries of implicit air-conditioner subsidies but bear the incidence of implicit solar PV subsidies.”

On the other hand, network bills for solar households would increase by $89.50 and by $225.27 or +27.8 per cent, in the case of solar households with air conditioning.

Part of his justification goes to graphs that he says show that rooftop solar PV misses the peak by a big margin, thereby contributing very little to network augmentation.

But figures can blur the true situation, as we pointed out when SAPN used a similar argument to defend their demand tariffs, a move SAPN concedes will likely halve the uptake of rooftop solar in the next few years, if adopted.

It is also interesting that there is so much focus on supposed cross-subsidies between solar and non solar households, and not the even greater subsidies between city and regional homes, or from air con use and no air con use.

In Queensland and Western Australia, the cross subsidy to homes in regional centres is enormous, totalling between $500 and $600 million a year, and up to $1,000 per household.

And nowhere in Australian regulatory circles are the “benefits” of rooftop solar included in calculations of a “fair price.” Benefits such as the ability to meet peak demand, avoid network augmentation and avoid environmental damage. These benefits are automatically included in the US, particularly in California where regulators have rejected the push by utilities to slash solar tariffs.

The solar industry says that if a demand tariff is to be set, then it should be on the network peak, not the customer peak, which can be completely different. That will also provide an incentive to change their behaviour. In Queensland and other states, some solutions may be as simple as encouraging west-facing solar arrays, or even using daylight savings.

Muriel Watt, from UNSW, says the current push for demand tariffs looks and smells like a revenue sweep by networks. What happens when customers then move to storage and/or load management and the overall revenue to networks and retailers drops again? Will they find new ways to claw back revenue?

“We need to get rid of the idea of regulated returns asap,” Watt says. “Customers have lots of choice now – much of it cheaper than the grid option, and they will take them.

“What happens then? We can’t be held to ransom by regulated monopolies trying to retain their income streams. They have built assets we may not want or need, because they refused to provide exactly these sorts of price signals from the start, which would have made people aware of peak loads.”

Watt says the networks knew about the issue with air conditioners 20 years ago, and even did trials on remote cycling controls, but they didn’t implement them because they made more money by building more network,  all the time complaining about peaks!

No one wants to talk about the need to write down asset values, particularly as the state governments look to sell public assets. “Let’s hope the state governments haven’t been stupid enough to lock in minimum income streams for the new owners with their purchase/lease arrangements, or we will be paying for stuff we don’t need for the next 99 years!”

In any case, the grid – like other public infrastructure such as roads, and hospitals – is, by definition, a cross subsidy across all customers, with rural grid customers getting huge subsidies for their long lines compared with city folk, industry cross-subsidising residential and vice versa in different locations.

So focusing in on one aspect only distorts the picture. “If we really are to go to cost reflective pricing, all these would need to be transparent and costed,” she said.

“If energy supply is opened up to competition and the so-called ‘natural’ monopoly removed from the grid, we would see a range of lower cost options emerge and would get a more sensible outcome in the long term.

She says distributed energy (which includes solar PV, solar hot water, storage, demand management, and electric vehicles) will be the lowest cost for many situations and third party suppliers will offer good packages with fixed prices, just like the mobile phone sector.

“The role of the grid will change considerably over the coming decade and its real value will be discovered during this process – but not while ever we give it a regulated return!”

That, however, is the starting point of so much analysis seeking to protect the status quo.

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70 Comments
  1. Beat Odermatt 5 years ago

    Every company has a duty of care for our environment. Any action which punishes good environmental behaviour such as punitive tariffs for solar homes must become illegal. I believe any company which acts against the public and national interest for example by undermining international environmental obligations should be punished with hefty fines or prison. It applies already if a company or individual deals in protected and endangered plants and animals. The Commonwealth Government must act now.

    • john 5 years ago

      Old mate the statements are made because they are in a situation where they have seen their income going down.
      As I have so said so may times the retailers and the networks have to get into supplying the simple solution.
      Get into the supply of backup power yes batteries and management otherwise you will be left out of the loop.

      • Beat Odermatt 5 years ago

        Their income has not gone down but not up as much as they speculated on. The grid must remain as a fair and efficient way to distribute energy. You don’t buy a tank to drive on the road because some drivers are idiots.

    • eric 5 years ago

      hear hear.but how do we punish these slimy capitalist pigs ?

      • Beat Odermatt 5 years ago

        You tell me. Yes, I love your term of slimy capitalist.

        • Reality Bites 5 years ago

          Giles and his supporters are living in a fantasy land. Simshauser and the QLD State Government are now facing the reality of what the 44 and 8 cent FIT’s created, which has been calculated to cost around $2.8 billion for the period to 2028. The overall demographic for the FIT customers are either well heeled home owners or retirees and yes jump up and down all you like but what Simshauser is saying is the truth, it is a transfer of wealth from the people who either could not afford to put up PV’s or did not take advantage of the schemes against those that did. To use the language of the cheer squad in here, the real capitalist pigs and thieving scum are the PV owners who want to be paid the tariff rate as a feed in and pay nothing to remain connected to the grid.

          • Beat Odermatt 5 years ago

            I wonder from which fantasy planet you are getting a $2.8 Billion cost from? There is plenty of evidence that rooftop solar is saving electricity companies, distributors and consumers Billions of Dollars by lowering CAPEX requirements and peak demand. You shot your arguments to bit by quoting an 8 Cent FIT. You show me a single retailer which passes on this cheap power anything close to 8 cents?
            Yes, many people pay less for power because they have rooftop solar. Most of these people are ordinary people trying to future proof their cost of living to an certain extent. Most of these people did save up the money by working hard and by giving up some of the lifestyle “necessities” such as booze and expensive meals.
            I am amazed that you do not mention the wealth transfer to CEO’s and senior manger of power companies of which some are getting paid several million Dollars a year. These figures are actually audited in companies annual report?

          • Reality Bites 5 years ago

            Wrong again. The figures are as estimated by the QCA and the 8 cents was introduced in July 2012. Sure I don’t begrudge people future proofing their energy needs, but your attack on the utilities is wrong and childish. The CEO’s of the majority of utilities are simply employees, hired by the relevant state government owners and doing what the state and federal government bodies dictate. The federal Australian Energy Regulator was established in 2005 and is the federal government body that approves 1. How much revenue each utility can recover 2. What the asset value is 3. How much can be spent on the network. The idea that cigar chomping execs make all the decisions is fantasy. The reality is that federal and state MP’s set policy and government bureaucrats implement the policy and the majority of utilities are still GOC’s. Sure I concede that solar has reduced market costs, as there is now a significant surplus in generation capacity. Has it reduced peak demand, the answer is no, the power cost to consumers has caused consumers to become energy efficient. Has it reduced capex, in QLD the answer is mostly no, as there are cluster areas, such as Harvey Bay and Toowoomba where there is a high penetration of solar which has required augmentation of the network to cope. Networks also have had to install compensators to manage the voltage in many areas. The lowering of the costs is also a temporary situation. Once the centralised generators start to close, which in Victoria and SA will be in the next few years, then the real cost will start to flow through. Instead of paying a wholesale price of around $40MWh I suggest a more realistic figure of $80MWh will probably be the norm.

          • Beat Odermatt 5 years ago

            Yes, at the moment a few States still have power companies owned by the State and any ripped off of customers may be justified that the money is going to the rest of the the community. You are totally wrong about peak demand. Every single solar panel reduces the demand and let’s coal or gas to remain in the ground for future generations. I am well aware of the con and spin you are obediently propagate. The facts and logic proof that the power companies lie.

          • Jo 3 years ago

            You forgot that the wholesale price is moving towards $80MWh from July anyway

          • Jo 3 years ago

            There is nobody who has a house and cannot afford to put solar panels on a roof.
            Firstly with about $4000 for a 5kW system this is not such a large expense (just compare it to a car, new kitchen furniture or a bath room renovation).
            Secondly having a house and a mortgage usually makes possible to draw back on the home loan, which gives such a low cost finance for solar PV that the savings will be higher than the expense from day one.

      • Rikaishi Rikashi 5 years ago

        These aren’t even real capitalists. They’re crony capitalists. Thieving scum, basically.

        • Sim 5 years ago

          I agree, they are monopolistic in nature and against facing competition. That is where the fault lies. Now they are being forced to work in a fair market where their product can be bypassed.

    • Jo 3 years ago

      Well, this is the function of the regulator who sits in the middle and controls the prices. The ‘ government independent’ regulator is just sitting too much on the side of the energy industry for my taste.

  2. KiwiInOz 5 years ago

    Perhaps he should be lobbying instead to ensure that solar PV owners are paid the same spot price as other generators in the NEM.

    • Doug 5 years ago

      Personally, I am glad Enova is off the ground (a new Community Energy Retailer based on the Northern Rivers NSW, in (non) Essential Energy country.)
      Enova will be pushing Green Energy, & buying Solar (or any sustainably generated) grid-feed energy at 10c/Kw/h from its customers. I have bought a share, & will be moving my accounts from the Greedy boys to Enova asap.
      I have been horrified by the cost from the biggies: I am building atm, & my first bill was $125 for 6Kw/h used, & the next $159 for 55Kw/h. What a rort!

    • Reality Bites 5 years ago

      In QLD AEMO reports the spot price is 4.691 cents per kWh.

      • KiwiInOz 5 years ago

        A transformed energy system and market should allow all providers to receive the market value of energy provided to the NEM.

        • Reality Bites 5 years ago

          So you are agreeing that the FIT of 5.3cents is too high and everybody should get the market rate of currently 4.691 cents?

          • KiwiInOz 5 years ago

            I am suggesting that, in future, domestic PV will be an integral part of the grid/micro-grid NEM and owners should be paid for electricity supplied at the market rate. The spot price changes every 30 minutes IIRC and all suppliers get paid the price tendered by the preferred supplier at the time. Bidirectional flow of value is integral to our future system.

  3. Ray Miller 5 years ago

    I’m with you Beat, any attempt by the consumers to lower their environmental impact is meet with resistance and punishment. This all seems like war, so to speak and my experience is that in Queensland, the revolving door between government energy department and energy corporations is endless and a protected ‘old boys club’ that even any government has little say over. And I have witnessed, be a while ago now, some of the ‘lies’ used by public servants to their political masters protecting the energy industry.
    The only way forward is what the Federal Government did to the Airline Pilots and sacked them all and started again. The implications of the Global Paris agreement means that from ‘today’ we need the disruptive change in the energy industry focusing on the intent of the Paris agreement. We all need to become an order of magnitude more efficient and achieve 100% renewables as soon as we can. There is no room for Simshauser and his ideas as they clearly have no place in this century.
    In contrast the likes of Amory Lovins show a different way.

    The storage necessity myth: how to choreograph high-renewables electricity systems

  4. Steve M 5 years ago

    They make it so easy for us sometimes. I firmly believe QLD will be 100% renewable within 10 years and announcements like this might shave a couple of years off that.

  5. john 5 years ago

    The building and supply of electric power has been a community service obligation.
    Once the decision was made to corporatize or sell the various aspects of this then the situation changed.
    If the real cost of all community obligation services was passed on with out cross subsidy then one would find some parts of each of the larger states paying heaps more for registration, medical, communication in fact everything.
    With electricity there is a very good argument to be made to lessen the sizable $500 to $600 million that distributed energy can very sensibly lessen.
    Without a doubt the idea of charging more to those who have AC and Solar is appealing however it only makes just going off grid an option for those who are able stalemate.
    The supply charge in Qld has gone from $60 a year to over $300 I believe.
    Just who is going to check that every house has an AC and it works the costs to check every building or apartment would be astronomical.
    No doubt time of use will be looked at as a cheaper alternative to this illogical idea.
    I can see backup power supplying the new peak in the evenings especially in SEQ as the solution to this.
    The networks and retailers should get into supplying solar and backup that they can control to their advantage and any power left is for the consumer this is proactive and a better outcome.

  6. Ken Dyer 5 years ago

    The Queensland Government is climate justice denying just as the current Federal Government. Queenslanders elected them on the promise that they introduce a fair price for the extra
    energy new solar energy owners produce if it wins government.
    It has lied, and appointed a climate denier and a fossil fuel advocate. Why do you think he left AGL?

    The Queensland government also promised to not assist the Adani coal project. But they continue discussions with them, and continue to approve coal mines in Queensland. It is a good thing that the good folk in Barcaldine are about to have a solar farm built that will solve their very bad electricity supply, and show the way of the future, because the Queensland Government is stuck in the past.

  7. Radbug 5 years ago

    If the Li battery manufacturers can demonstrate that their batteries don’t lose their energy capacity over time, it’s game on for the likes of the Nissan Leaf. I consume 6.6 kWh per day, my Leaf would consume 12.5 kWh per day, an 8-pack PV array generates 20 kWh per day. Charging would occur between 1000 hrs & 1400 hrs. I could do that, given that I use my motorscooter for most errands on fine days. The grid could be great if it were used to buy & sell renewable power, but I suspect that due to the mess created by the Policy Elite, it’s going to become stranded, along with the 75 billion dollars sunk into it. ps. Australia has free trade agreements with all of the countries likely to export EV’s to us. If the State government allows a penalty to be imposed on EV’s, just because they’re EV’s, the exporting counterparties may have a case to put, under the relevant Investor State Dispute provisions.

  8. Math Geurts 5 years ago

    The world has a climate change problem. Giles Parkinson has a solar rooftop problem.

    “Their first assumption is that the network revenue should be protected, despite overwhelming evidence – as highlighted by Mark Byrne’s excellent analysis on Ausgrid – that those networks have been overbuilt, based on misplaced assumptions about rising demand, and therefore should be written down”. After writing down the networks still every user has to pay his fair share. Grid costs remain fixed costs. Pay or go off-grid!

    • Chris Drongers 5 years ago

      A key point is that the grid is being up-sized to support ever larger peak demands. The counter-point is that many of the sources of the larger peak demands can be reduced without greatly affecting lifestyles – air conditioners can be fun intermittently/cycled by web controllers, houses can be insulated, non-critical loads can be shifted off-peak, heat island effects reduced etc, etc, ,
      No problem with paying a fair share of a basic grid; big problem with supporting profitability of a luxuriously large grid built to support unnecessary increases in consumption by other when low electricity options exist.

      • Math Geurts 5 years ago

        So, contrary to Giles Parkinson, you agree with Paul Simshauser’s article?

        “In this article, interval meter data at the customer switchboard circuit level confirms that solar households use only slightly less peak capacity than non-solar households and, that non-trivial crosssubsidies are rapidly emerging. A tariff model demonstrates that a peak capacity-based „demand tariff‟ is a more efficient, cost-reflective and equitable pricing structure that improves the stability of tariffs given a rate-of-return regulatory constraint.”

        • Chris Drongers 5 years ago

          Math – at a general level – yes, I agree.

          And this is what interval meters connected in near real-time to higher level operations (retail billing, load limiters, demand charging options) give us. And these signals and options will, in combination with emerging distributed generation, storage and control technologies, give us the new system.

          But “a peak capacity-based „demand tariff‟ is a more efficient, cost-reflective and equitable pricing structure” does not exclude other pricing models that might be more efficient, cost-reflective or equitable. Here I support Gile’s oft repeated line that it is peak network demand which is critical, not peak household demand.

          “stability of tariffs given a rate-of-return regulatory constraint” above is saying that the electricity industry should be protected from any fall in income. This in spite of major technical advances which reduce greatly the value of some of what it does.

          If Uber can reduce taxi driver’s incomes to the benefit of travellers, if digitial camera can reduce Kodak to a memory while we take more photos than ever before why should electricity companies be protected from changes in income to less than when big generators, big transmitters and big retailers were the only game in town?

          • Math Geurts 5 years ago

            Chris – I agree that the peak of the critical network, is relevant. But I would think that quite often that will be the lowest voltage distribution level, with mostly households. In that case: household peak = network peak.

            From the article: “In Australia, generation and retail supply operate in intensively competitive and largely deregulated markets. Transmission and distribution networks are structurally segregated and monopoly regulated, and it was increases in the network tariff component of the overall household bill that dominated price movements.”

            What do you regard as “the electricity industry”?

    • JeffJL 5 years ago

      But what is a fair share?

      Time of use charging, yes. Increased fixed costs, no. Hit all users with time of use charges be they AC users, non AC users or solar panel owners.

      • Math Geurts 5 years ago

        Time of use costs is for energy (kWh’s), grid costs are max. kW related.

  9. Ian 5 years ago

    What can one say, more of the network resistance to behind the meter solar. You can be sure that solar system owners will be champing at the bit for reasonably priced battery storage. The option of using EV double-duty as transport and as night time electricity supply looks better all the time. Cheap FF standby generators will make going off grid very economically viable and reliable.

  10. eric 5 years ago

    SImmhauser should pull his head out of his ass and breathe some air.
    it’s pretty obvious where he has his finger

  11. eric 5 years ago

    I have the solution …lets blow up their power plants with them in it…..hmm…………but how do we get rid of all that pollution ?

    • disqus_3PLIicDhUu 5 years ago

      By sequestration of the owners and lackeys, down deep old mine shafts, close to hell where they belong.

    • Math Geurts 5 years ago

      The grid owns no power plants.

      • neroden 5 years ago

        False in Australia. You can look up the grid ownership and the power plant ownership: same company in the case of Ergon.

        • Math Geurts 5 years ago

          Indeed, Ergon owns one gas-fired power station connected to the main grid.

          “Ergon Energy also owns and operates 33 stand-alone power stations that provide supply to communities across Queensland which are not connected to the main electricity grid. Since August 2007, Ergon Energy has owned and operated the Barcaldine gas-fired power station along with its associated infrastructure, which supplies power to the main grid. Ergon owns the Windorah Solar Farm, a $4,500,000 project completed in December 2008 producing up to 360,000 kWh of electricity a year, reducing the town of Windorah’s need for diesel powered generators, and reducing fuel consumption by more than 100 000 litres annually.[2]”

          https://www.ergon.com.au/about-us/who-we-are/our-company/corporate-profile

  12. Chris Fraser 5 years ago

    It was different in the noughties. We had our consciousness prodded and poked about stationary energy emissions, about the egregious forthcoming spend on the bloody grid, worried about the widespread installation of air conditioning. What could we do to relieve the brownouts ? “It’s too soon”, we thought “The $8000 solar rebate is not enough while solar is $8/w to install”. Ah Heck – we got up and installed it anyway. The utilities coached us on saving energy. They flogged solar to us. They encouraged it. We slept a little easier. Of course, this was before the emergence of the duck curve.Of all the things western democracy has stood for, we all agreed on opportunity and the acceptance of risk, provided the goalposts don’t move. We see it in real estate investment and the stockmarket. Rudd’s modest proposal for a resources rent tax was met with howls of sovereign risk. The miners got their way.Now the regulators are howling. The opportunity has supposedly swung towards those making an environmental, if at one time not terribly economic, decision. The opportunity became popular and also economic because of technology, economies of scale and constant repetition. It was bound to spin out the regulator’s control. How is it fair they can prod a huge layer of the social system into taking action, absorbing the cost of taking that action when actually that was meant to be the regulators job, and then condemn them for it ? Did they think solar was only ever going to be a cute cottage industry, having no impact on hub and spoke generation ? They finally have to face technology, have to face even more, and yet still be the last to understand it.They need to understand they set the goalposts only once. If they can find the competencies, they need not to punish solar folk, but bring all the non-solar folk into the fold. They have to permit opportunities for investment – because that is what solar now is – an investment, a reward, and also climate justice. The old order is gone except for pieces of resistance in power. Their responsibility is actually to keep the utility of the grid, and to let it adapt.

    • Math Geurts 5 years ago

      “Of all the things western democracy has stood for, we all agreed on opportunity and the acceptance of risk, provided the goalposts don’t move”. Unfortunately, goalposts do sometimes change p.e. for owners of coalmines. Why has that to be different for owners of solar panels?

      • Chris Fraser 5 years ago

        Yes don’t those coal mine owners make lots of legal and political noise ? PV owner groups learn strategies from the best.

        • Math Geurts 5 years ago

          At least we agree that this noise making by PV owner groups is nothing else than the legal and political noise making by owners of coal mines.

          • Chris Fraser 5 years ago

            Indeed PV groups have to understand ways to get the attention of influential and useful people. The difference will likely be PV owners vastly outnumber coalmine owners, and have greater altruistic motive.

          • Math Geurts 5 years ago

            Altruistic motive? For not paying their fair share for grid use?

          • Chris Fraser 5 years ago

            Let’s pick up a few of these threads next year. Merry Christmas !

          • Math Geurts 5 years ago

            Happy New Year!

  13. Ian 5 years ago

    As the famous Forrest Gump said ” Stupid is as stupid does” What do you do if your customers source your product from somewhere else? Why, charge them more of course!

    • Math Geurts 5 years ago

      Almost good. However, the product of the grid is peak demand (measured in kW) not net consumption (measured in kWh). With a battery it is possible to use less of the product. Just solar does not help.

  14. Math Geurts 5 years ago

    The value of solar rooftop for the grid appears to be considerably less than the value of the grid for solar rooftop. However, everybody is free to leave the grid if he does not want to pay his fair share.

    From the article: “An important finding was the combined implicit subsidy received by households with an airconditioner and a solar PV unit. The air-conditioner adds to critical peak demand, and solar PV does little to alleviate it. Such households were found to be beneficiaries of a -28.1% implicit subsidy and exhibited the poorest load factor (appropriately measured, using critical peak demand as the relevant denominator). Households in financial hardship are unlikely to dominate this consumer segment as Hledik (2014) explains. On the contrary, based on the household load curve results in Simshauser & Downer (2015), they are almost certainly bearing the incidence of implicit subsidies. The most sobering finding in this research was for households without an airconditioner or solar PV unit, which exhibit the most favourable load factor, faced network charges 39.5% or $295 per annum higher than they need be.”

    From Giles Parkinsons comment: “It is also interesting that there is so much focus on supposed cross-subsidies between solar and non solar households, and not the even greater subsidies between city and regional homes”. Why should that be interesting as this has no relation with the subject of the article: demand tariffs?

    • disqus_3PLIicDhUu 5 years ago

      ‘and exhibited the poorest load factor (appropriately measured, using critical peak demand as the relevant denominator)’
      Cant see how combined solar input increases network peak demand?
      If anything it should generally leave it unchanged where worse case peaks frequently occur on hot evenings.
      I’d agree part subsidy for peak demand reduction for solar systems, without battery storage, shouldn’t be.

      • Math Geurts 5 years ago

        If you feed in around noon (through PV), and take in the evening (through airco), and pay for the grid mainly according to “net” kWh consumption, you have the poorest load factor, expressed in “net” kWh/ max. kW.

        • nakedChimp 5 years ago

          And why do you act this way?
          Smart people will have their houses cooled down when the sun is shining during noon and come home to a cooled house.. then you don’t have that big aircon demand in the evening anymore.
          As soon as the high FiTs will be axed most people will do it this way and your major talking point is moot.

          • Math Geurts 5 years ago

            Even more with demand tariffs. Maybe you can explain to Giles Parkinson that there is nothing wrong with that.

  15. Tim Forcey 5 years ago

    $100/summer Residential Demand Management Incentive

    Meanwhile in Victoria, in some of United Energy’s service areas, incentives of up to $100/summer are on offer for folks responding to a text message – sent in advance of the high forecast demand period – asking that they keep their electricity consumption below a specified quantity.

    See: http://uemg.com.au/summer-saver-trial-eligible-areas.aspx

    This is (part of) what smart meter roll-out has wrought…

  16. Jacob 5 years ago

    What right do they have to know if I have an air con or not?

  17. greenmail 5 years ago

    Simshauser’s report, given his previous corporate role is not only disingenuous it is conflicted and potentially unethical. Immediately I read it as devious but I am not surprised as it so neatly coincides with the COP21 fightback strategy of the generators and distributors.

    His appointment to such a high public service office was always bound to end in tears or discredit for the Queensland utility.

    Right now an innovator with profound knowledge is needed to take Queensland to an easily achievable solar and wind driven future. Simshauser should once again step on the revolving doorstep and good riddance.

  18. BsrKr11 5 years ago

    these guys are silo thinking reductionist rubber peckers that are paid to protect their patch … and the government won’t step in and change things, since doing so removes many millions from their coffers…

  19. JustThink4Once 5 years ago

    I wonder what the strategic response would be to domestic appliances with their own solar cell/battery systems built in? If your toaster, microwave, kettle etc. mostly sit on the bench silently charging it’s a bitch to the networks. What about a portable cell and battery system to which any home owner can easily add an independant powerpoint network within their house? Early days, but cells and battery tech will only get better.
    To paraphrase Star Wars… “The tighter your grip on emerging technology, the more inventive ways will be found to slip through your fingers.”

    • Math Geurts 5 years ago

      Over 30 years years ago there have been watches with solar cells. Nowadays most people don’t consider that smart anymore.

      • neroden 5 years ago

        I still use solar-powered calculators because they still work.

  20. MaxG 5 years ago

    No surprise here… exactly as I predicted.
    If they are concerned with subsidies, and ‘their’ subsidies should be removed now.
    I have chosen to leave town to enable me to be off-grid. Up theirs, for all I care.

    • Math Geurts 5 years ago

      In the outback living off-grid is not cheaper than in town. The only advantage is that have you no choice there, like many people in Africa.

      • neroden 5 years ago

        No idea what you are trying to say.

        In the outback living off grid is cheaper than living on grid, and you can get enough land to put up as many solar panels as you need.

        In the city living off grid is not necessarily cheaper than living on grid (if the grid got rid of all those uneconomical power lines to the countryside…) and you may not have enough space to put up all the solar panels you need to go off grid.

  21. disqus_3PLIicDhUu 5 years ago

    If anything networks are going to cope with much larger demands than at present, having to cope with the increase of ‘electric only’ homes and the coming electric vehicle revolution.

    • Math Geurts 5 years ago

      Another good reason to introduce demand tariffs to discourage EV charging in the evening.

      • disqus_3PLIicDhUu 5 years ago

        Evening and overnight charging will be the only available option for most consumers and to get eg 40kWh into an EV pack, would be best on mass and overnight when the network is otherwise quiet.
        Storage along with smart grid, must become available to counter peak demand, attempting to rely solely on hit and miss penalties to consumers, to control peak demand, smacks of a corporate retail distopian answer.

  22. Andrew A 5 years ago

    Be good to have Daylight Saving in Queensland to alleviate peak demand with Solar PV in the afternoons.

  23. Tom Taylor 5 years ago

    The NZ government is also trying to stop residential PV by re-setting FITs to make residential PV uneconomic and ensure that investment in residential PV is ‘stranded’. Gareth Hughes “Fair Play for Solar” bill was thrown out (60/61 in Parliament – Peter Dunn (the ‘Ohariu Invertebrate’) getting another tick on his National Party ‘get into Parliament for free’ Loyalty Card) and the Electricity Authority (it’s independent it says here) is also having a ‘consultation’ on pricing to make residential PV uneconomic. Both the EA and the National government are using the argument that peeps installing PV are parasites stealing off us ordinary folk.

  24. Math Geurts 5 years ago

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