Solar PV installation strengthens NBN’s goal for upgrade

Author: Darvin Tocmo  Date Posted:5 August 2016 

The AER released a draft decision that favors solar power users in SA.

The AER released a draft decision that favors solar power users in SA.

Australia against ‘unfair’ solar charges

South Australian solar panel users found an ally in the Australian Energy Regulator (AER). Its recently released draft goes against the proposal of SA Power Networks (SAPN). The latter proposed to increase charges for solar customers.

It’s a good time for renewable energy users to get such kind of backing. After all, Australia looks at the potential of solar energy. The country sees it as a solution to reducing carbon emission and electricity costs. And what better way to encourage solar power use than push for tariff reforms that favor it?

Tariffs for solar power users

Distribution networks prepared new tariffs for implementation in 2017. The AER reviewed the proposals. It even supported most of the reforms.

However, AER disagreed to solar customers getting charged differently from other electricity users. They decided to issue a draft ruling for SAPN to address its customer assignment policies first. The separate charges are “unfair” according to solar advocates.

As a matter of fact, this was not the first time the AER turned down the proposal from the SA utility. They did the same last year with the support of, no less than, the Federal Court. For the AER, electricity retailers should provide tariffs that will encourage solar energy use.

Good news for solar users

Clean Energy Council’s policy manager, Darren Gladman, also spoke about the issue. He said the AER's decision is good news for solar households and businesses in SA.

Gladman said that if the SA Power Networks proposal was successful, it would send a powerful message. People will get stung another way no matter what action they take to reduce their bills. You're therefore damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t. He added that if it was successful, similar and possibly much larger charges by operators in other states might follow.

SAPN is due to submit their revised tariff structure on October 4, 2016. The AER will then make a final decision on February 2017.