New South Wales has gazetted new legislation that it hopes will address some of the issues facing nearly 150,000 solar households when their premium feed-in tariff ends at the end of this year.
As reported last month, the state government is introducing a range of new measures designed to address bottle-necks and potentially steep fees for solar households which may – or may not – be required to change meters when their “gross” tariff is replaced by a “net” tariff on January 1.
(Gross feed-in tariffs are paid for all electricity produced by solar panels. Net tariffs are paid only for that electricity not consumed on the premises and exported to the grid).
The proposed rule changes were gazetted late last week. They include rules that will accelerate the roll-out of smart meters from the end of 2016 to the start of 2017; allow electricity retailers, rather than network providers, to lead and promote the roll-out of smart meters, and relax restrictions on who is allowed to install those meters.
The bill also removes the requirement for the ‘sealing’ of customers equipment (including the meter) that has been traditionally used in the industry for safety and revenue protection.
Despite this, confusion remains in the industry about what solar households on the premium tariffs – 60c/kWh plus a retailer bonus for most, 20c/kWh for some – will be obliged to do and what they will pay. A proposed letter to solar households is yet to be sent.
There is fear that solar households will be forced to adopt “smart meters”, and pay a hefty fee of up to $700 unless they sign on for a long-term contract with a retailer.
There is confusion about what sort of metering can be adopted. The Level 2 “sparkies” are outraged that their investment in training has been undermined.
© 2016 Solar Choice Pty Ltd
Giles Parkinson regularly contributes unique content to Solar Choice News. Giles is the founder and editor of clean energy industry news service RenewEconomy. He is a journalist of 30 years experience, a former Business Editor and Deputy Editor of the Financial Review, a columnist for The Bulletin magazine and The Australian, and the founding editor of Climate Spectator.
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