New solar & storage-friendly electricity market rules delayed until 2020

New electricity market rules that could have encouraged Australian networks and consumers to take up solar PV, battery storage and demand management systems have been delayed for another five years.

The decision by the Australian Energy Market Commission not to force the introduction of its long awaited Demand Management Incentive Scheme (DMIC) until late 2016 has been slammed by consumer advocates.

It means the changes will not be implemented until the next five-year spending plans for networks are up for review in 2019/2020 – a delay that could add billions of dollars to network upgrades and also to consumer bills.

The delay is also a set-back for network-wide adoption of technologies like rooftop solar, battery storage, and energy efficiency – and a victory for coal-fired generators fighting moves that would lower consumption from the grid.

“This is bad for demand management, distributed generation, solar PV, energy efficiency and customer-based battery storage,” said Chris Dunstan, from the Institute of Sustainable Futures.

Dunstan says that between $4 billion and $12 billion could be saved if networks looked to adopt solar, battery storage, and energy efficiency programs, rather than rely on the traditional method of making network upgrades, and building more poles and wires.

Solar Citizens says the AEMC’s own research shows household bills could be reduced by $120 to $500 a year by demand management.

“It is an unacceptable to delay a commonsense rule change that helps with the cost of living for both solar and other households alike,” said Dan Scaysbrook, Director of Campaigns and Organising at Solar Citizens.

The decision comes amid a whole range of appeals and rule-changes, including efforts by NSW government owned retailers to overturn an attempt to limit their spending over the next five years, and tariff changes that have seen big rises in fixed charges, and a push to hit solar households with high network tariffs.

© 2015 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

Giles Parkinson