‘Bill shock’ for solar customers

More than 275,000 Australians receiving subsidised payments for generating solar energy are in for ‘bill shock’ over the next six months, when the solar feed-in tariffs decrease by as much as 80 per cent.

Solar feed-in tariffs – state-based incentive schemes first introduced in 2010 – enticed about 1.5 million households to adopt solar power by rewarding them with as much as 60 cents per kilowatt of electricity generated and sold back to the grid.

However, with South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria ending their respective programs in the next few months, participating consumers are being warned to prepare for bill surges and to reassess how they use their generated energy.

“146,000 early solar adopters in NSW, particularly on the 60c Solar Bonus Scheme, will face bill hikes of $1000 or more from 1 January 2017,” says Reece Turner, from advocacy group Solar Citizens.

“More than 62,000 solar owners, who take advantage of the South Australian 16c feed-in tariff, which ends in October, will face bill shocks of around $380, whilst 67,000 Victorians on the transitional or ‘1 for 1’ scheme face bill increases of $680 per year from 2017.

“Early adopters need to have a plan about how to maximise their solar power by using timers, considering a shift to heat pumps or electric hot water systems and even preheating or cooling their homes.”

According to a report from the Alternative Technology Association, consumers can capitalise on their solar energy by obtaining a net meter (in NSW only), using solar instead of gas to power appliances, shopping around for retailers offering the best incentives, and installing a small battery to store power for later use.

Relevant customers should have received a letter from their state government or electricity retailer, but are advised to contact their retailer if unsure about how their bills will be affected.  

Read more at The Guardian.

What do you think? Is it fair to lure consumers and then remove the incentives? Or do you think the schemes have done their job?

Written by Louise Baxter

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