Regulator rejects SA network solar tariff proposal | RenewEconomy

Regulator rejects SA network solar tariff proposal

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SA Power Networks proposal to add a $100/year charge to solar households in the state has been rejected by the AER, for failing to demonstrate ‘sufficiently dissimilar’ load profiles of PV and non-PV customers.

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The Australian Energy Regulator has rejected the proposal from the South Australia’s monopoly network operator, SA Power Networks, to add a $100 a year network surcharge for households with rooftop solar.

As we reported here in May, SAPN caused a furore in the Australian solar industry by proposing the surcharge in a submission to the AER, despite decisions by both the Queensland and West Australian governments – the owners of their respective networks – to back away from similar moves.

But the proposal was rejected by the AER, which said in a statement on Wednesday that it was “not satisfied” that the network had demonstrated that PV and non-PV retail customers had “sufficiently dissimilar load profiles.”

“Customers with micro-generation facilities — such as solar Photovoltaic — should not be treated any less favourably than customers without such facilities, but with similar load profiles,” the AER statement said, citing current national electricity rules.

“A PV specific tariff of the type proposed by SA Power Networks would therefore constitute less favourable treatment of retail
customers with micro-generation facilities,” it said.

SAPN had justified the proposal of the tariff by saying that solar households still needed as much power from the network at peak times as other users, even if they used less electricity from the grid during the day when the sun was shining.

But the AER ruling questioned the SA Power Networks’ focus on the peak load of the profile, only, and its use of a limited number of values extracted from extreme weather days.

It also criticised the lack of consideration of the load profile over a reasonable time period, across the range of seasons and varying times of the day, in order to demonstrate a difference in the load profiles.

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The ruling also said that SA Power Networks had not given any consideration to the reasonable variation across the residential population’s load profile.

SA Power Networks now has 10 days to resubmit its 2015-16 pricing proposal, with the Solar Tariff and Social Tariff removed. It is also required to inserting a reference to the ability of customers to choose their meter service provider, and meter type when installing a PV system.

The AER will then assess the revised submission for compliance with the pricing principles and the 2015-20 distribution determination.

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  1. RobS 5 years ago

    What they should be doing is adding a remotely operable demand response switch to air conditioning units and either adding a surcharge to those who refuse to install one or giving a rebate to those who do.

    • PaulW 5 years ago

      Forget the stick (surcharge) and instead use a carrot (rebate). Plenty of evidence around the world that rebates encourage far, far more participation and fewer gripes than alternative ‘penalty’ approaches.

      • RobS 5 years ago

        There’s also a lot of evidence that carrots result in accusations of “political susbsidies” and “distorted markets” just look at the rights rabid response to the RET. I’m not sure either way is clearly superior, my thinking is that it is easily provable that running an air conditioner at times of peak demand results in substantial additional costs to the grid therefore it should be easily arguable that people who insist on running their aircon at times of peak demand should cover that cost.

  2. barrie harrop 5 years ago

    Soon the grid will be a back up only.

    • nakedChimp 5 years ago

      only prob with that are the grid connection cost for the backup.. they’re ratcheting them up now.

      • Mike Dill 5 years ago

        Barrie and Chimp, I agree with both of your comments. For now, I can afford the $20.00 monthly ‘service’ charges that I pay for staying connected. Soon, a battery storage system and a backup gas generator will be less than that (amortized over ten years). At that point in time this conversation will be very different than what we are ‘accepting’ today.

  3. Beat Odermatt 5 years ago

    Courts in Australia have ruled some bank fees as illegal. How could an anti-solar fine by SA Power Network be legal? Why do some companies go out of their way to punish good environmental management by residents?

    • PaulW 5 years ago

      Why? 1. They don’t care about the environmental argument, it’s irrelevant to a for-profit company. 2. SAPN is owned by a Chinese Hong Kong based conglomerate who only cares about retaining the highest possible profit and will try anything and everything to limit the decline in margin and ROI.

      • Beat Odermatt 5 years ago

        You mean it is a monopoly owned by rich foreigners? I am surprised that media chasing politicians like Nick Xenophon are so silent? It seems that many politicians make a greater effort in attacking Australian companies exposed to competition like Coles, Woolworth and Telstra instead of giving more attention to real monopolies.

    • Steve Young 5 years ago

      SAPN operates under a revenue cap. As the name suggests their revenue is capped. The change to charging does not increase SAPN’s revenue, but rebalances who it is collected from.

      • Beat Odermatt 5 years ago

        That is great! Up to now I did believe it was only the Government which came to help us. It is good to know that companies from overseas come here to help us. You have restored my trust in humanity. You may have decimated any potential sarcasm.

  4. Peter D 5 years ago

    Common sense prevails!

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