The Greens campaign....

Solar not to blame for power price hike

The story in the Advertiser (3/5/12): “Super Charge: Green policies force power bills up $340”, unfairly blames ‘green policies’ for a cost increase of $340.

There are 3 mistakes in the story.

1)  2 years worth of solar feed-in scheme cost is rolled into 1 year.  

This is what ETSA released:

 

 

$122 is not the amount that will flow on to power bills every year

2)  The distribution, metering and transmission costs of the grid (charges from ETSA Utilities and ElectraNet) are included as ‘green policy’.

This is plain wrong.  These costs are rising because of peak demand – caused mainly by new air conditioners - and ageing poles, wires and transmission infrastructure designed to transport (mostly) coal fired electricity through the grid.

3)  They base the likely increase in retail costs from the carbon tax on an ambit claim of $150 from an energy retailer (AGL) that has not been accepted by the regulator.

This $150 figure is 5 times more than what the article itself says SACOSS and the SA Government believe is justified.  Prices have not increased by that much, and will not increase by that much.

And as part of the carbon package negotiated between the Greens and Labor, the level of compensation to households will be greater than the increase in power prices.


Background
  • The SA solar feed-in scheme should not be blamed for the rise in household electricity prices.
  • When it comes to laying blame for the power price surge we shouldn’t be looking at the solar panels on the roof, we should be looking at the large air conditioner out the back. That’s what is driving the spike in power prices, not solar.

  • Every single new air conditioner adds over three times more cost on to everyone’s power bills than each new solar installation.

  • The solar feed-in scheme was (and is) supported by all sides of politics – Liberal, Labor and Greens

  • The original cost of the scheme was supposed to be about $10 million. But due to the Government’s bungled handling of the scheme, the cost has increased significantly.

  • The Government was supposed to review the scheme and adjust the generosity in May 2009.  They didn’t announce any changes until August 2010 (with a media release), and didn’t actually introduce legislation to change the scheme until mid 2011.  The vast majority of the cost has occurred during this 2 year delay.

  • If the Government hadn’t been asleep at the wheel, households wouldn’t be facing such a big cost.

  • The Greens have acted to keep costs down:

o We ensured the Upper House voted down the Government’s irresponsible plan to increase the amount households were paid from 44c/kWh to 54c/kWh.  This would have added $90 million to the cost of the scheme.

o We tried to quarantine the cost of the scheme from low income households.  This was opposed by Labor and Liberal.

  • This scheme has been highly successful at generating an SA solar industry.  Solar panels are being manufactured right here in our state.

  • We never said tackling climate change would be free, but economists have always said it will be much cheaper if we act now, rather than delay.

  • The experience overseas (in Germany) is that solar energy is reducing wholesale electricity prices.  In the same way, wind energy is lowering wholesale electricity prices in South Australia.  The big question is: why is this lowering of wholesale prices is not flowing onto consumers?

Summary
  • This is 2 years’ worth of solar feed-in scheme cost, not 1.

  • Air conditioners are 3 times as much to blame for power price rises as solar.

  • The cost of the SA solar feed-in scheme has increased significantly because the Government was asleep at the wheel.

  • The Greens have acted responsibly to keep the costs of the SA solar feed-in scheme down.

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