ACCC Eyes Solar Sellers

Foreground Image: BigStock

Rapidly escalating electricity prices have been a positive selling point for solar; but some in the industry have been exaggerating this aspect and drawing the attention of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

According to an article on The Telegraph, solar panel companies claiming the carbon tax will increase electricity prices by hundreds of per cent will be receiving a tap on the shoulder from the ACCC; a tap that may become a mighty whack in the form of huge fines.

The latest estimates from University of Queensland researchers put the impact of the carbon tax at anywhere between 3.8% and 10.4%. Most Australian households will be receiving assistance from the Federal Government to offset those increases. 

However, other substantial electricity price increases wait in the wings; some due to hit from July 1 also. For example, a draft decision from IPART allows for an average price increase of 16% across NSW; with factors other than the carbon price accounting for half of that increase. 

In another recent action, the ACCC announced a solar company had paid a fine of $6,600 for stating it was affiliated with the Clean Energy Council (CEC).

“The ACCC takes a very dim view of companies which trade on false affiliations with reputable agencies to enhance the trustworthiness of their product or service,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said. 

The ACCC isn’t the only government body going after dodgy solar sellers.

Earlier this month, the NSW Fair Trading Commissioner announced the director and general manager of three New South Wales solar companies had been fined for selling solar panels with electrical faults and solar hot water systems with potentially unsafe storage tanks.

A rush to acquire install solar power systems is under way due to looming electricity price hikes coupled with a 33% reduction in the Solar Credits rebate from July 1 this year.


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