Tariff woes for solar households – it’s all about network charges

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A power bill, sent in by a Queensland reader, illustrates why solar households are so keen to install storage – or even quit the grid.

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As we wrote here last Tuesday, Queenslanders who install solar on their rooftops these days get little to nothing for the electricity they export to the grid – not since the removal of the 44c/kWh tariff in late 2012.

And while that hasn’t stopped households in the Sunshine State from switching to solar by the thousands, it has meant people are not saving nearly as much as they think they will on their electricity bills, as fixed costs outweigh solar power gains.

An example of just such a lop-sided electricity bill was sent to us last week by a RenewEconomy reader from Queensland’s Brighton – a suburb on the northern fringes of Brisbane City and part of the Energex network – who’s family installed a 1.5kW solar system in April 2014.

“We thought that would be enough for a small household,” the reader said, adding that initially their retailer, Origin Energy, were paying 14c/kWh for the solar power they exported to the grid, but then this was dropped to 6 cents.

“What shocked me about the bill (pictured below) was how much we’re producing (543kWh), how little we’re using (from the grid) (165kWh) for the 91 day period, and yet how much we’re still paying!! Most of it is the Supply charge of $75.91,” she writes.

Indeed, there are two problems here. One is that the household is getting a pittance for the electricity exported back into the grid – less than for the imports even though they are more than three times higher in volume; and the second is the size of the fixed component. What greater incentive could there be for households to store their electricity in battery storage, or even quit the grid?

Of course, with electricity demand falling – thanks in large part to the popularity of rooftop solar – power companies are using the fixed cost components of their billing systems to help cover their own fixed costs, while also compensating for lower usage by consumers. They have been warned, even by regulators, that this is self-defeating.

As was noted in a Victorian study on power prices released last week, in some cases households are paying up to $1,000 a year for gas and electricity before having switched on a single light or appliance.

“Over the past five years, the fixed charges for electricity have more than doubled and the fixed charge for gas has gone up over 60 per cent,” said Gavin Dufty, a spokesperson for St Vincent de Paul, who commissioned the study. One fixed tariff, he said, had been noted at $2 per day for electricity.

The Victorian research also showed that the price-spread – the difference between the best and the worst market offers – meant that households with typical electricity consumption (4800kWh) could save up to $500-$800 per annum, depending on their network area) if they switched to the best market offer.

As our reader puts it: “We need to try to find a better deal with another company, though as such a small consumer we don’t have much bargaining power.”

 

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64 Comments
  1. Rob Campbell 4 years ago

    Sophie, as much as we stand aghast at the bills that solar owners are still having to pay despite generating their own electricity, the sad fact is that the people who cannot access solar for their roofs, or those that live in units pay exactly the same network charges, a large proportion of which is paying for the 44c solar bonus locked in by the previous Labor government. At least this person has some means of reducing their bill by having solar to the tune of about $90.00 including rebate and self-consumption. If they use the same amount without solar the bill would have topped $185.00 !!!!! See below an article I penned recently which shows the time bomb that renewables, particularity solar, needs to diffuse through good policy (if that is at all possible).

    Policy Vacuums risk making enemies of have-nots.
    On the back of some policy stability with the small-scale target and echoes of grid parity, lobbying in Australia has shifted focus to large scale renewables. As the small scale industry continues to survive comfortably in real terms, perceived victories of pro-renewables electioneering are likely to create a lot of unhappy consumers who are, rightly or wrongly paying through the nose to support the people who have the ability to install solar on their rooftops. All of the inequity can be blamed on poor government policy for sure, but regardless of how you look at it certain people are on a government guaranteed rort, some until 2028. The National Electricity Rules, a dubious set of rules actually belonging to South Australia, dictate that no renewables owner should be discriminated against, but this comes down to the definition of “discrimination”. You only have to look at Australia’s efforts to deal with our first inhabitants, many European Australian’s claim that “positive discrimination” is alive and well in this country and this is true, discriminating against the majority, to aid far fewer.
    Allowing these dollar benefits to endure long after the incentive has provided a reward to the solar owner for his investment, goes against the very fabric of the Australian ethos of a Fair Go. Whilst it is in our DNA to enjoy the occasional rort, if any Aussie can be shown that their personal benefit is achieved at a direct detriment to a fellow
    Aussie, the enjoyment swiftly turns to guilt. Herein lies the dilemma. The particular argument for small scale solar wins on carbon, sustainability and to some degree, wholesale pricing. But it fails to deliver real benefits to those who cannot install solar and in fact currently costs these people dearly. It all comes down to the spectacular rise in renewables and the lack of political and technical skills to both manage and embrace this phenomenon to the benefit of all, by those in government. The unbridled determination to keep renewables not just alive, but at heady heights has not left any room for overarching policy design that will be of benefit to the most people over the longer term, and the longer this bloody minded agenda is pursued, the more enemies we are likely to collect. As with Campbell Newman, who’s dogged determination to resolve financial issues in a single term generated the biggest protest vote in history, the failure to involve all those effected and have them onside by being patient enough to get not only a message, but a well thought out and inclusive message puts a deep division between franchisees and the rest.
    With the states and the feds each trapped in their own policy vacuums, it seems the only solution to the current messy and unsustainable situation may only be corrected through the dodgy NER legislation. A rewriting of this legislation to address the ongoing excesses, whilst changing the whole framework of generation, transmission and delivery of electricity to cater for a truly competitive and adaptive landscape should be the number one priority for all governments, state and federal. Until this is
    achieved renewables will still be considered a rort to an increasingly angry majority unless they are embraced sometime soon. One possible measure may be to subsidise storage into non-solar situations and introduce truly reflective demand metering and real time pricing of energy. This is not a hard job and should avoid sovereign risk issues as well. It will provide access for all to cheap solar PV energy, with non-solar owners allowed to absorb excess solar power during the day for use at night, it’s good for solar, small and large, and brings all consumers into the fold. These “network stabilizers” can enjoy being rewarded for a truly valuable service. Solar owners would be left unsubsidised. It would be almost un-Australian for a solar owner to launch action against a system that enables the have-nots assisted access to technology that not only enhances solar but will put substantial downward pressure on centralised
    generation and network costs, the opposite that is happening today.
    We can’t afford for the inequitable status quo to produce a fair result organically, it will take far too long and exclude too many people.

    • David Hoadley 4 years ago

      Rob,

      when you say “pay exactly the same network charges, a large proportion of which is paying for the 44c solar bonus”, upon which your entire argument appears to rest, how large is this proportion? According to https://www.dews.qld.gov.au/energy-water-home/electricity/prices/tariffs-explained , it is around 3%. Is that really “a large proportion”?

      • Rob Campbell 4 years ago

        They say its 3% of your bill, but it is a higher proportion of your network costs. However it has nothing to do with network costs and should never have been recovered via electricity bills. Did you know that 4 cents of every kilowatt hour is now paid by us for “retailer acquisition and retention costs” as a network cost as well ? My argument is the total absence of “provision of services at cost” as opposed to “taxing by stealth”, which regime do you think we are under?

        • Chris Drongers 4 years ago

          Rob Campbell “My argument is the total absence of “provision of services at cost” as opposed to “taxing by stealth” seems to be more your Alan Jones quick whinge type of response of blaming solar.
          It was only when Dave Hoadley queried his blaming the Qld solar 44c FIT (ended in 2012, declining at about 7% of households a year as accounts are changed) that Rob C admitted that the FIT isn’t the problem; it is the government owned electricity generators and distributors and retailers being used as a backdoor tax mechanism that is causing the rising prices.

          • Rob Campbell 4 years ago

            I am not if your disagreeing or agreeing with me. I may be over emphasising the FIt effects on costs but it doesn’t matter what the truth is, the perception is everything, and the lack of overarching policy will always put solar in a vulnerable position. PS. I have 10kw on my house at 44cents. I’m not personally suffering but egalitarian society is.
            Maybe we should just go with the flow.

          • Chris Drongers 4 years ago

            I am agreeing that Rob C has greatly over-emphasised the cost of the 44c FIT to individuals and as an overall part of the cost of grid electricity. It does matter what the truth is.

          • john 4 years ago

            It does matter what the truth is.
            I have watched this industry from about 1999 and I am just amassed at the amount of ignorance there is and people with devious intent take advantage of gullible people

          • Rob Campbell 4 years ago

            All this shows is the carbon tax. No real reduction in wholesale prices and i have seem $13000 MWH s twice this year.

          • john 4 years ago

            Rob
            It absolutely does matter what the truth is you said the FIT is the reason for people paying too much which is patently and absolutely absurd in fact the reduction in the wholesale price due to solar has subsidised those who do not have solar for the last 4 years and is becoming more and more profitable for them.
            Your knowledge is not exactly extensive please do not listen to people who have no idea about the hard facts
            I will now post a graph for the eastern grid which underlines the situation.
            Just realise that the high costs are gone this information is from the AEMO you can download and do this your self.

          • john 4 years ago

            Chris
            The reason is falling demand on eastern grid and over spend.
            So the few using less have to pay more.
            In fact if this was put on a business footing the value would have to be written down and the CEO sacked.

        • john 4 years ago

          Your network cost are 50% plus how on earth is 3% more

          • Rob Campbell 4 years ago

            I don’t understand your comment

          • john 4 years ago

            Rob you have the idea that network costs have gone up due to solar in fact due to solar with transmission losses the network and retailers gain.
            The network does not have to sent 100 kwh to deliver 90 kwh
            The solar house delivers the 100 a gain of 10 to the retailer and a saving in expend to have a network able to cope.
            Just realise to deliver those 90 the retailer had to buy 100 now do you get a small idea of the saving that those people have given those who did not spend the money.

    • Colin Nicholson 4 years ago

      Would you like to share where the $90 and $185 numbers came from?

      • Rob Campbell 4 years ago

        A 1.5kw system over summer would make at least 8.6 kw per day over 91 days with equals around 775, if they export 556, the rest they would have self consumed at .27 x 220 = $60 approx. add that to your $ 32 export fit = 90 ish.

        • Rob Campbell 4 years ago

          Add the 90 to their bill of 93 =180

        • Colin Nicholson 4 years ago

          which calculator gives you 8.6?

          • Rob Campbell 4 years ago

            I’m being conservative, maybe I use good gear but nth facing system always get 5.5 peaksun hours on average. I was very conservative at 8.6 KWH for summer when the days are 50% longer.

    • Pedro 4 years ago

      I have not come across the ‘non owning PV majority’ yet complaining about PV owners rorting the system and driving up electricity costs. That view is politicial and murdoch media spin, but it is not the talk I hear around the BBQ. Most are aware that it is network gold plating that has driven up power bills. The opinion I hear is ‘why is the government not supporting more utility scale projects and why aren’t the power companies putting in more large scale solar and wind farms?’

      • Rob Campbell 4 years ago

        You say it’s a beat up, and it may well be, but all bear ups rely on facts as a seed. Those people at your bbq will change their stance over time if they continue to be disengaged.

        • Pedro 4 years ago

          There are clearly houses that can not install PV due roof conditions and poor performance. The micro inverter solution could work in those cases. You have the issue of renters being mostly locked out. If a renter really wants PV then that is a negotiation between them and the landlord, and I have come across a situation where the renter installed a PV system at their cost provided the rent did not go up and secure tenancy. I do not believe PV cost is a barrier, a modest sized system is cheap and you can get finance (cheaper than a 72 inch LCD TV). The point I am trying to make is why get bogged down with the people who cant have solar, they are in a minority and PV to them is not a priority. Everybody is concerned with rising energy prices and solar is not the only tool to reduce those costs.

    • john 4 years ago

      Rob
      A very, very small amount of your cost of electricity is from the 44c paid to the few who put PV on roofs then.
      You my friend are sadly misinformed.
      Just go look at the real situation what has happened is that the Eastern Grid spent $45 Billion on upgrades to ensure it was able to cope with a demand that did not materialise.
      This $45B has a guaranteed return of 10% and with lower consumption you are now paying higher and higher supply costs.
      You really have to realise that .02% is not the factor mate

      • Rob Campbell 4 years ago

        You keep bashing me for overstating the 44cents. It may be small in comparison to the daylight robbery that is network charges, but how can you justify to me that a few people can get 44cents until 2028 and say it doesn’t represent an unfair situation, again not the punters fault but the governments. Should there not be an agenda to bring balance back for all consumers?

    • WR 4 years ago

      I suspect they are only using about 0.4 kWh per day on average from their pv system. Their bills indicate that they are very are very frugal users of electricity. So the pv system would be saving only about $40-$45 per quarter.

      The QLD fixed daily tariff is going to be much worse in the next financial year. It is due to increase from 84c/day to 116 cents per day before the gst is applied.

      • john 4 years ago

        WR
        yes the QCA has said that the idea is to make sure they get enough money to cover the network cost.
        They also think this is just about the end of ramping up from $15 a quarter to this figure $1.07 a day which is $390 plus 10% = $429.

    • Roger Brown 4 years ago

      ” Sovereign risk issues ” ? Is that you tony abbott ? Stop flogging that dead horse , the solar households aren’t the bad guys , its the greedy Poles and wires guys , Generators and the retailers . Go back to the Murdoch rags .

  2. Jon 4 years ago

    Not sure you should be complaining if your electricity bill is only $96 /qtr. Am I right to assume that the the usage and generation kWh are net of any solar used within the property, in which case they are getting 25c/kWh value for the solar energy they use? If not, they are an incredibly frugal energy user and probably didn’t need solar in the 1st place.

  3. frostyoz 4 years ago

    This household was paid for 543kwh of exported generation in 91 days. A 1.5kw system in Brisbane would be expected to generate 6.3kwh/day, which amounts to a forecast generation of 573kwh for the 91 days. Therefore, it looks like it is exporting most or all of its generated energy, and not applying much if any of the generation to household consumption. Either it is not wired to apply against the household consumption, or it is well over-sized for the household consumption. What do the experts think?

    • David Osmond 4 years ago

      Hi Frostyoz, I’d expect the system to generate more than 6.3kWh/day over the summer months (I’m guessing you’ve used an annual average, though apologies if not).
      Having said that, who knows if they have shading issues or sub-optimal alignment.

      • Colin Nicholson 4 years ago

        I’ve run a couple of calculators and they indicate 560 for those three
        months in that location. After all 6.3 a day is 2300 a year which is
        high summer and good tilt

        • David Osmond 4 years ago

          For those 3 months, this system in Brisbane has averaged 5.3 kWh per kW installed per day, which works out as 8.0 kWh / day for a 1.5 kW system. Having said that, this appears to be a better than average system.

          http://pvoutput.org/aggregate.jsp?id=35&sid=1590&v=0&t=m

    • john 4 years ago

      They are not using much power during the day.
      To understand the real outcome the output from the Inverter and the export will give the household consumption.
      There has been an increase in the supply cost per day and in fact it is going up to 107c per day next July in Queensland.
      This of course will perhaps persuade some however just work it out considering your home consumption.
      It is patently evident that battery storage has a huge market just looking to buy.
      I think I will get out there and get into this business as it is a no brainer.

  4. JohnRD 4 years ago

    Rob C: I am sick of hearing the tired old “a large proportion of which is paying for the 44c solar bonus locked in by the previous Labor government.” The reality is that the 44 cents per kwh solar fed into the grid was replacing more expensive peaking power as well as pushing downward pressure on wholesale prices in general. The figures to back up this statement can be found in: https://reneweconomy.com.au/2012/why-utilites-will-pay-a-premium-for-rooftop-solar-72585 .

    • Rob Campbell 4 years ago

      It was way too much for way to long, it benifit ted too few people and represented a well intentioned but poor policy decision. We all love solar but you can’t ignore the have nots in the conversation. Not only solar Fit is being blamed for network increase, solar penetration is also. Sure there is competition an wholesale pricing but it is bugger all. I’ve been watching five year old transformers being replaced with new ones with telemetry and gas isolators on poles which never had them before or had air break switches that have operated twice in twenty years, is there a pattern here?

      • Chris Fraser 4 years ago

        http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/HECO-and-SolarCity-to-Put-Smart-Solar-Inverters-Through-Real-World-Testing

        I suspect we are not finished with new inverter technology yet. This piece proposes that the local grid’s capacity for new PV is huge. Why not get Energex onto it ?

        • john 4 years ago

          Chris

          Hawaii does have high cost of power generation.

          Yes smart control systems are needed in fact not every company in the world is sitting on their hands over in NZ is a company that puts a battery in your house with PV and yes they switch it on to supply power to the grid as needed and anything left at the end of the day you can use.

          http://vector.co.nz/electricity

          In NZ the cost of power varies per month it can be very high in winter with high heating demand however the basic idea is not exactly rocket science.

      • Roger Brown 4 years ago

        .44 cents contract is till 2028 , at the moment it is .26 c/kwh , by the time 2028 rolls around, it will be dearer than .44 cents. If you move house (sell) your contract expires . The numbers are falling daily . I borrowed money to put my 3 Kw solar power on my home , and along with my 22 yr old solar hotwater system , I don’t get any electricity bills , since Newman pushed me to get it before he closed the door .With heating water , people would be crazy to buy another Electric/ gas hotwater system .Its the biggest user of power in a normal household . I went with a local (30yrs) electricial company and not a door salesman .

  5. Beat Odermatt 4 years ago

    In South Australia the Labor Government has allowed power companies to punish people with solar. They can charge about 33 % more for connection fees. I am not sure what the correct term for such behaviour is but in my opinion it is just common theft.

    • Rob Campbell 4 years ago

      The Nation Electricity Rules say it’s illegal doesn’t it?

      • Beat Odermatt 4 years ago

        Governments and power companies are above the law.

  6. Leigh Ryan 4 years ago

    Everybody in the state with half a brain knows that the 44c FIT is adding approximately $1.00 per week to their power Bill, the fixed charge is to justify an unsubstantiated cost of poles and wires a large proportion of which are either not used or underused, we all know it is a backdoor tax which will transfer to private enterprise or is already a massive profit leader for private enterprise.
    The current fixed charge has driven me to look at Battery storage and for me with a 5Kwh system my payback is 4 years so I’m kissing the grid goodbye, thousands of others will follow me, and the the so called have nots clearly haven’t looked into the cost of borrowing to install Solar vs their current bill it’s cheaper to install solar, even if you only break even in 4 or 5 years it’s free for the next 15 years except for the fixed cost if you remain on the grid, battery storage is currently break even if you shop around, over the next 2 years the costs will and are falling dramatically, only those who are to lazy to do the research will still be ongrid and paying massive bills they cannot afford, well they deserve to suffer the consequences of indolence.

  7. Ken Dyer 4 years ago

    My electricity bill after allowing for solar feed-in is almost what the network charges are. Battery storage will eliminate that. Battery storage is worth right now, about $400 per year as a service charge displacement . At about $7000 to buy (and the price is coming down), that represents about a 5.7% return on my after tax investment which is much better than bank interest.

    • Geoff Henderson 4 years ago

      Ken good to do the numbers but having been off grid for 12 years I have seen a few other costs raise their heads:
      * you need to allow replacement of batteries. Current lead acid batteries have a service life of around seven years depending on how well they have been maintained. So a $7,000 battery pack will add ~$1,000pa (or $259/quarter) to your energy cost. OK better batteries are on the way and that should bring the price down.
      * maintaining the health & longevity of batteries means you don’t run them too low. Generally the limit is that it is better not to discharge below 75% too often. Now if you are off grid totally (no connection to a network) and you have a few poor solar days, your batteries will be over-taxed and your seven years starts to reduce. New tech batteries may do better, I don’t know.
      *to maintain the battery charge at those times when demand exceeds supply you need a back up generator. These days the inverter generators are pretty good and deliver good clean power – even machines sized at 2KVa – the barest minimum size to use. What should be used is much larger (say 5KVa with must-have auto start) system – but that brings more expense in system set up, genny positioning (think noise, fumes & neighbours) and more. And the genny will require service and replacement over time. A $3,500 genny lasting seven years is another $125/quarter.
      * The daily service charge is payable even if you use no grid power. It can be justified by the fact that power is being delivered to your door. Whether you choose to use it is another thing. The power company has made that power available to you and some charge is reasonable. Of course “reasonable” is worth discussing; it warrants a frank discussion of how and why all the costs that the utility faces are constructed. Gold plating is frequently cited but seldom explained. As I understand it is unnecessary capital expenditure that consumer now pay for. Interesting that many of the coal trains that travel on the very expensive electrified rails are actually diesel powered.

      • Ken Dyer 4 years ago

        Thanks Geoff. All good points. I will certainly keep them in mind when I start to chase solutions.
        Cheers.

  8. Helen Holmes 4 years ago

    I get so annoyed when people say to shop around for the best deal. North Queensland has NO CHOICE – Ergon charges $82.58 a quarter service fee and our semi-rural area, just 20 Km from the biggest town in the region has lost power four times in the last month for no apparent reason. Questions are being asked! THere has been a good take-up of solar and everyone is just hanging out for the time when battery storage is feasible, then it’s bye-bye Ergon!

    • john 4 years ago

      Helen

      hang in there and yes battery is coming down in price by the day just go look at http://www.energystoragenews.org/

      It would pay Ergon to actually get proactive and sell batteries to you at least then they would have a business plan
      Next July you will be paying $1.07 a day plus GST so a bit more than your $82.

  9. trackdaze 4 years ago

    As I stood on my 2 storey roof polesawing a massive african tulip in time for the coming cyclone I surveyed the suburb and took great comfort in the number of my neighbours who have taken initiative and installed solar.

    For those of you who at significant cost to your selves installed solar early who receive 44c I say thank you for collectively avoiding new expensive fossil fuel generation, reducing peak demand thereby avoiding cost network upgrades and lastly kickstarting an industry.

    Winging may be too strong a word but for those that are receiving the 6c ish rebate ask how much a generator is being paid per kw? And secondly compare your instalation cost to your predessessor?!

    • john 4 years ago

      Well said mate.
      In fact those even now those who put solar on their roofs are subsidising those who do not and are reducing costs just scroll down and look at the graph I posted earlier.

      • Rob Campbell 4 years ago

        You Guys just aren’t getting my point. The positives you are saying are very true however it is from the “haves” perspective. Mine is a cautionary tale about the expanding gap between have and have nots and the haves ability to defend themselves against that insidious scheme of legislated return on investment. If you read my headline comment I am trying to at least give some of those who can’t get solar a means of defence from money hungry state governments.

        • trackdaze 4 years ago

          Im a not, ie I dont have solar……..yet.

          A couple more truths. The network costs money thats not going to go away (as for gold plating, cushy work practices et al thats another story) If you access the network there needs to be a charge. Perhaps this could be on gross flow (in/out) or even an access fee for generators.

        • Neil_Copeland 4 years ago

          Read the post from Leigh Ryan, you can now get solar and pay less per month than you were paying for your electricity. It is not about haves and have nots anymore. You can even get solar for nothing and just pay less for your electricity than from the usual retailers.

          • Rob Campbell 4 years ago

            What if I live in a home unit, these are the people I’m talking about. Its not only about solar owners being subsidized by non solar owners, which is occurring due to government policy (yes its not the solar owners fault). Its about the lack of any means by which a unit owner can defend against any part of their electricity bill, they are sitting ducks. So solar owners get both a defense mechanism and a subsidy. Don’t you think that may cause some discontent in the future? You also must remember until the grid returns back to an essential service, not a revenue generator, solar will have little benefit to non-solar owners. Another thing to consider is solar-plus-storage solar owners will soon grasp the ability to go virtually off grid, still paying an access charge but little else, and that my be covered by exports. This being the case the grid may be reduced in size and the savings passed on to non solar owners, but that relies on government’s getting money from other sources and behaving logically. Not on the horizon from either party I think.

          • Neil_Copeland 4 years ago

            So Rob, you have pointed out some negatives. No policy can be perfect. You can’t keep all the people happy all the time. What is your solution to the problem?

          • Rob Campbell 4 years ago

            Neil,
            What needs to happen is the government needs to go back to basics. Governments evolved to provide services to communities for the collective good at cost. All of this corporatisation has done little to reduce costs, only increase revenue streams to incompetent, popularly elected governments. There is genuine scope with the onset of storage for governments to maintain dividends whilst tearing down half of the grid. Solar at the moment only affects spot wholesale prices, not network costs (even though it should in Qld). The fat that is already on the network charges and the increase in the proportion of that fat that would come about by not expanding and gold plating the grid could be directed to storage subsidies, initially to those who can’t install solar – in this case a 5-10 KW storage device on a balcony or in a laundry. Allow these owners to buy power at peak solar times at a small cost for self consumption and export at peak times. This engages the solar have-nots, legitimizes the continued roll out of solar and should start a self-sustaining snowball of storage and the evolution of the grid from hub and spoke to inter-connector.

          • Neil_Copeland 4 years ago

            Actually yes Rob, use of storage without solar as a way of including those that cannot install panels seems like a good idea to me. The retailers just need to get on board by selling cheaper power in off peak times to make it worth it. At the moment in SA you can only get onto the lower night time rate if you have electric water heating. If you heat your water with gas, you can’t get the lower off peak rate over night.

          • trackdaze 4 years ago

            If you live in a unit you may be able to get contestable supply for the builing. This can be as cheap as 15c! You as a collective of unit owners do need to coordinate though.

            Interestingly the example here appears to be paying standard unnegotiated rates for supply maybe they should put some effort into talking to their supplier.

            1.5 kw seems a bit light in this day. I do trust its expandible?

          • Rob G 4 years ago

            There are a number of important details you carefully leave out of this argument. An argument that many renewable opponents have used too (most reside in the LNP party). First off the ‘haves’ have paid a fair whack of their own money for their solar set-ups. You acknowledge that policy allows utilities to recoup X amount of $$ and that with more and more solar owners coming online the ‘have nots’ are a shrinking group that are being forced to fill the utility $ quota. But saying the solar owners are at fault here is just shooting the messenger. If the utilities had not over invested in the network, to increase their own profits, then we wouldn’t be taking about rising bills for non-solar owners. Over investment and rising prices have caused the solar boom to occur and ultimately have revealed a truth about how the law was manipulated to allow this gold plating to occur.

            The lets look for the helpless ‘have nots’ to make a case against solar is not helpful. There will always be reasons not to do something and people who will miss out on possible advantages. On affordability others here have made the point that this is a non-arguement – there are no money down and pay as you go options. Then the argument – ‘what if I cannot get solar’ (my unit has no roof as I live on the bottom floor), well the money you didn’t spend on solar could be put towards the power bills and other ways to be smarter with power (you mention storage – I’m a big fan of this).

            I’d argue that solar owners who get next to nothing for their extra power should lower power prices for non-solar people. Excess power from rooftops is significant. I for one get nothing and export a large amount of excess power to the grid – power of which someone will pay for and someone will profit from (and it’s not me!)

          • Rob Campbell 4 years ago

            For gods sake, your arguing against a point I haven’t even made. Read the whole comment, not just one bit. I am pro solar. your comments show ignorance, I am just trying to emphasize the lack of proper policy on the whole box and dice. It doesn’t matter which idiots have power. (or which Idiots voted for them).

          • Rob G 4 years ago

            Forgive me Rob, I have not read all of your posts on this story and apparently missed your point. My response was actually around some of your conclusions of what happens to non-solar owners because of poor policy. And I find it odd that the solar owner is part of this analysis. For me this dubious policy will accelerate grid defection and open the doors to business that can better serve both solar and non-solar owners.

  10. Alan Baird 4 years ago

    The conversation in this thread stands in stark contrast to the dim awareness in the general population, hereinafter called the punters. Privately, that’s almost certainly what pollies call them too. The pollies are about 2 minutes ahead of the punters. The losers are those that have solar. The big time losers are the punters and they are STILL only dimly, vaguely, vestigially aware of the reason why (to a minuscule degree) as it requires their concentration for longer than 8 seconds, the maximum time needed to read and comprehend News Ltd papers. And won’t it be interesting when the poles and wires are privatised! Of course, bills WILL be cheaper for us won’t they? Of course, the reason for raising fixed charges initially was to fatten piggy (poles and wires) for private sale. It started in 2000-ish. In NSW, Labor times. Now it’s Liberal times. Now it’s to supposedly pay for transport etc. There is always a new reason, but the goal remains the same. Why do people reject privatisation? For the same reason they don’t like the system where you buy a CHEAP printer and then pay a FORTUNE for every bloody pack of ink thereafter! Hint! It’s a scam. As the pommy humour mags used to put it:
    I understand that if I am not completely happy I have been HAD (but only big time):
    ……………………………………(Punter signature)

    • The Green Lantern 4 years ago

      Dim awareness indeed. Mug punters. So many of them still don’t even realise they have a choice other than the Laberals, let alone that they have a choice other than the Daily Rupert and/or the rest of the MSM which basically acts as an echo chamber for his nonsense.

      If more people were aware of just how badly they’re being screwed by these unjustifiable network charges, aside from the continual reduction in the solar tariff, and the quiet support of both major parties for such predation, the political change we need would be happening a helluva lot quicker.

  11. Leigh Ryan 4 years ago

    OK let’s ask the Government a question, what happens to the QLD grid if all the Solar owners turn off their export to the grid, we know that the current 420,000 Solar installations currently export enough power to be equal to another power station, I see blackouts occurring, our new Premier wants that number expanded to a million, so that makes two power stations, how much would it cost the government to build two new power stations and since we the solar owners are effectively a power station why are we not being paid the same wholesale price as any other power generator, it might be time for solar owners to flex their muscle by turning off the export then we might get some logical response from those who would be our masters.

  12. derekbolton 4 years ago

    Let’s not waste effort discussing past FiTs – that’s just history. The question is, where to from here?
    The basic problem is the way utilities have traditionally structured their charges. In the absence of smart meters, they are not able to charge in a way that reflects their own costs. Instead, they have bundled much of the connectivity cost into the power charge.
    Customers with a flatter or unusual demand profile subsidise those whose peak demands align with overall peak demand. The latter group is exemplified by aircon users. It is estimated that for each $1 a household spends on a/c gear, the network spends $3 to provide the infrastructure.
    Early PV adopters were no problem because peak network demand was around 4pm, when PV output helped shave the peak. But as PV has become widespread, the peak network demand has become later, and PV owners have become part of the problem.
    (Note that large users, 500kWh/day upwards, say, often pay a fee for their peak demand and a much lower per-kWh charge.)
    Short of rolling out smart meters, the only way the utilities can respond is to increase the connectivity charge. Of course, as battery costs decline many will desert the grid. Forward-looking utilities are trying to figure out how to support rooftop PV and still provide a service customers will pay for.

  13. finn 4 years ago

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