NSW Government Slams All Households With A ‘Solar Power Levy’

Sky Image: BigStock

The New South Wales Government’s seeming hostility towards home solar power has escalated with an announcement all households in the state will be whacked with what is being called a solar power levy.
   
In what the Australian Solar Energy Society (AuSES) describes as a cash grab,  the NSW Government will increase electricity bills for all NSW households by around $12 a year.
   
This happens in the midst of a void in solar policy in the state that is seeing system owners who missed out on the state’s Solar Bonus Scheme finding themselves supplying excess electricity generated by their systems to electricity companies for free. The O’Farrell Government also unsuccessfully attempted to renege on contracts with Solar Bonus Scheme recipients earlier this year. 
   
“The Government should make power companies pay a fair price for the solar power they are currently getting from solar households if it wants to claw back funds for the Budget,” said John Grimes, Chief Executive of AuSES.
   
“There needs to be a fair price for solar power. Everyone should have access to the benefits of the greatest energy source in the world. People’s power bills should be going down, not up, because of solar power.”
   
Mr. Grimes fears the Government’s decision sets a dangerous precedent where any government that wants to generate more revenue can up the price of electricity and use solar power as a scapegoat. 
   
Power bills rose by a staggering 17 per cent in July in NSW and further increases of between 2 and 10 per cent are expected by July next year. While electricity prices have been rising nationally, it has been continually shown solar power is not the culprit.
   
Although the current New South Wales government has repeatedly seemed to demonstrate an incredible level of hostility towards small scale solar, even given the substantial distributed electricity generation benefits it provides; householders in the state are continuing to install solar power systems without a feed in tariff in order to buffer against the rapid rise in electricity costs. NSW households are still eligible for the Federal Solar Credits rebate and it’s believed some electricity retailers may be offering their own feed in incentives; albeit far less than what would be considered a “fair price”.
   
However, the fact these households are collectively exporting a substantial amount of surplus electricity for free or below market value and the ongoing and unfair demonising of small scale solar power may be remembered at the next election.
   
State governments cutting back on solar power support were recently described as being foolish and short-sighted by Queensland Energy Minister Stephen Robertson. Solar power in Queensland is alive and well thanks to the state government continuing to offer 44c per kilowatt hour to solar households for their surplus electricity; a scheme Minister Robertson says is sustainable.
   
The boom in solar panel uptake prior to the current New South Wales Government’s crusade against it has also played an important role in delaying in the need for new baseload fossil fuel based electricity generation capacity in the state until close to the end of this decade.
     
Related:
     
Sydney/New South Wales solar power specials