South Australian network operator SA Power networks has been accused of unfairly targeting solar homeowners, after its appeal to the Federal Court to overturn the Australian Energy Regulator’s decision to reject new taxes for solar homeowners.
As reported on RE in June, SAPN sought to impose a special fee on solar households equivalent to $100 a year, but the proposal was rejected by the regulator.
In July, SA Power Networks decided to slash the electricity usage component of its network charges to just 3.3c/kWh, just one-fifth of its previous peak rate, and impose hefty “demand charges”, potentially making rooftop solar (without battery storage) less attractive to consumers.
Solar Citizens national Director Claire O’Rourke, says the move to overturn the AER’s decision on the special solar fee was just the latest attempt by SAPN to discriminate against solar homeowners.
“This is a brazen money grab from SA Power Networks who want to target solar homeowners, and are again trying to push through unfair fees onto the solar community by any means possible,” O’Rourke said in a statement on Friday.
“When SA Power Networks first proposed these new taxes on solar homeowners there was widespread community outrage.
“South Australians sent a clear message that they would not accept this attack on solar homeowners, and the AER listened and rejected the proposed fees.
“It’s time for SA Power Networks to listen too, and to stop trying to penalise those in the community who are embracing renewable energy.
“SA Power Networks can either attack or embrace the community energy revolution. This latest move indicates they intend to undermine the efforts of thousands of South Australians who have chosen to take control of their electricity bills by making the switch to solar.
“There are more than 184,920 solar homes in South Australia with more people going solar every day.
“Power companies need to stop trying to impose unwarranted charges.
“This is an unacceptable move by SA Power Networks and we call on them to put a stop to this witch hunt,” said Ms O’Rourke.
Sophie is editor of OneStepOffTheGrid.com.au and deputy editor of its sister site, RenewEconomy.com.au. Sophie has been writing about clean energy for more than a decade.