As South Australia moves into rather toasty weather (again), it’s been suggested households that consume less power during heatwave events should be rewarded.
The cost of providing extra infrastructure to support the use of energy hungry appliances such as air conditioners is spread across all electricity consumers.
However, the distribution of cost is by no means fair. A household that has no air-conditioner helps subsidise the next-door neighbour who does.
Even among air-con households there is inequity. The single person household with a older, power guzzling larger unit that may be in poor condition pays no more in terms of the necessary infrastructure needed to support it than the family with a smaller, more energy efficient air-con unit.
With over 9 million air conditioning units installed throughout Australia; the impact of cooling is significant.
According to AdelaideNow, a recently released report from the Energy Supply Association of Australia prepared by Deloitte proposes a billing system that takes into account of how much electricity customers use at any given point as well as when they used it.
There are other ways to keep the artificial cool without putting a massive load on the mains grid and copping huge power bills. Along with the many “old school” methods that some of us became familiar with as children – before the rise of the air-conditioner – there’s solar power.
While heat does impact the performance of a solar panel system; during recent heatwave events the many thousands of systems in affected areas throughout Australia were quietly, cheaply and cleanly generating electricity for their owners and taking some strain off the mains grid. The Australian Energy Market Operator recently confirmed South Australia’s rooftop solar revolution helped shift the peak in demand during recent heatwaves.
If a billing system such as is suggested were to come into play; owners of solar power systems may receive a double benefit – the solar electricity; plus cheaper peak rates.