NSW Feed-in Tariff Debacle: Hardship provisions?

NSW GOVT PROPOSES HARDSHIP PROVISIONS FOR SOLAR BONUS SCHEME

NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell and Energy Minister Chris Hartcher today announced in a media release that special provisions would be made to protect 60c feed-in-tariff recipients who can show genuine hardship as a result of the NSW Government’s retroactive reduction of the Solar Bonus Scheme feed-in-tariff rate to 40c. This decision will attempt to recognise that those who invested in solar panels under the old rate did so in good faith. œ(T)here may be some people facing financial problems as a result of the changes we are making to the scheme and we will provide assistance to them,” O’Farrell said.

The new Liberal government says that the changes to the scheme must be made in order to protect NSW families from further increases in their power bills, and to mitigate the effects of the ‘blowout’ Solar Bonus Scheme initiated by the previous Labour government, which is expected to go drastically over-budget.

Mr Hartcher said talks would begin immediately with relevant groups to work out an appropriate hardship package, whose development is to include consultations with groups representing pensioners, welfare recipients, farmers and self-funded retirees would be among those consulted in putting together a hardship package.

The Ministers said in the media statement that the NSW Government intends to introduce the legislation before the winter recess, which begins 24 June.

© 2011 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

James Martin II

Contributor at Solar Choice
James was Solar Choice's primary writer & researcher between 2010 and 2018.

He is now the communications manager for energy technology startup SwitchDin, but remains an occasional contributor to the Solar Choice blog.

James lives in Newcastle in a house with a weird solar system.
James Martin II

Comments

  1. Who made Barry O’Farrel king???
    He thinks he can do what he likes in his feifdom of NSW.
    You enter a contract that you expect to be honoured by both parties. Not broken because one party decides it is not to their liking and want to change the law to change the rules. How can you ever do business again with a government you can’t trust.
    Rise up an object loudly NSW of suffer the consequences (oh we already are).

  2. This sounds like a smoke screen and mirrors trick to me. I think that the NSW government is worried about the large amount of objections it is receiving, and ultimately the votes it will lose. Lets hope that the objecting MP’s will be heard, that the minor parties can still block the legislation, and if needed, alternative solutions can be developed that are fair for all who have invested in solar.

  3. I paid the same amount as anyone else.. now because I am not a “pensioners, welfare recipients, farmers and self-funded retirees” I loose out completely?
    Seriously I though my taxes already helped contribute to welfare and pensions, who will help my family with two children under a year and a half years old and my wife who works part time to help make ends meet?
    Disgraceful NSW Government!

  4. This is an attempt to divide and conquer. It does not address the basic issue of a government breaking a contract with NSW familes who signed up in good faith to protect themselves from future electricity price rises. If we had a penalty clause they would have had to think twice about it :-( The Penalty argument is the one they always give when they fail to cancel the bad contracts for toll roads and tunnels and other monopolies.
    Good luck with any future plan to revive a dead Solar Panel Market.

    IMPORTANT NOTE:
    I have had two calls from telemarketers representing Energy Australia. I am with Integral Energy. They offered me a 5% discount on my electricity and a 4% discount on my gas for a year. (The other day I Goolge’d this and you could get 10% off electricity) .
    This is the issue though….

    If you have Solar Panels installed and you agree to change electrcity providers, YOU WILL LOSE YOUR 60cent rebate (or whatever it is to be). They did not say this up front but only when I questioned them. Both confirmed if I changed my electricity provider from Integral Energy to Energy Australia I would lose my Solar Rebate.
    So beware – Do NOT CHANGE YOUR Electricity Provider or YOU WILL LOSE YOUR Rebate all together.

    1. I changed from Integral to Origin in Sept 2010 and there was no problem with the 60c FIT, I still have it. If your information is correct( telemarketers don’t have much depth of knowledge in my experience) there must have been another change in policy.

      It is an interesting point you raise on the discounts. Origin don’t offer discounts to customers with solar systems receiving FIT. So although I get paid for my production, I pay top rate for supply.

      Has this been factored in to Govt. calculations??

      1. It wasn’t the telemarketer that told me. Although two different ones told me if i took the 5% discount I would lose my 60c solar rebate. The day before I was called I was checking the status of my daughter’s solar connection with her electricity supplier and went to their FAQ page and there was a question about this topic. The statement was clear, You would lose your 60c if you changed electricity supplier. That’s is the only reason I knew. It was in the FAQs below. But they have been updated and it is not there now. So maybe it was not correct. Regardless the first question to ask is what happens if you do change suppliers as you cannot trust anyone with regard to solar. The game is to take it from you.

        http://www.energyaustralia.com.au/State/NSW/NSW-Government-announces-closure-of-Solar-Bonus-Scheme/NSW-Solar-Bonus-Scheme-Questions-and-Answers.aspx

Comments are closed.