Latest reports indicate that some energy retailers in the Australian market are taking advantage of the uncertainty and consumer confusion as the New South Wales solar bonus scheme closure draws near.
Those who joined the NSW Solar FIT Scheme before May 2011 have been receiving 20 cents or 60 cents per kilowatt hour for all the power generated by their solar PV systems.
This arrangement comes to an end on December 31. Starting January next year, participants of the scheme will now receive an unsubsidised tariff rate of between 4.7-8c per kWh on average; and this is only for the excess electricity exported to the grid. Most possibly, the new arrangement also means a change of meter will be required. And of course, the change is bound to have a significant effect on the 146,000 homes that are participating in the bonus scheme.
Solar energy information and news resource Australian Solar Quotes predicts that a 3kW solar system owner in Sydney might see an electricity bill increase of up to $2,400 every year as a consequence of the less generous incentive.
Australian Solar Quotes will soon publish a guide for Solar Bonus Scheme participants in New South Wales which will provide them with more details on the actions they can take to mitigate the impact, as well as a calculator which participants can rely on to estimate the financial impact.
A report by ABC indicates that the Solar Bonus Scheme situation has brought about serious confusion and there are claims that some energy retailers in NSW are offering consumers “less than genuine” deals on smart meter purchases.
Reportedly, the New South Wales Energy and Water Ombudsman has received lots of complaints about the Solar Bonus Scheme closure, majorly in relation to the confusion surrounding installation of new meters.
The NSW Government is already organizing information sessions regarding the looming closure of the bonus scheme in a series of workshops aimed at explaining in detail how the changes will affect participants and any possible courses of action. These sessions will be held in various locations including:
Dates, venues, times and registration for these information workshops, which are expected to start next week, can be accessed here. Though the workshops are free to attend, registration is required.