The Guardian | 15 January 2014

installing solar panels - image courtesy APVI

‘Electricity tariff system unfair and unsustainable, say energy experts’

Lenore Taylor finds the electricity tariff system unfair for those without air conditioners

In the current electricity system all consumers pay for the network of ‘poles and wires’ that are needed to maintain a constant supply of electricity in times of peak demand. Last year CPD found that 30% of Australians without air conditioners are having to subsidise the costs needed to supply power to those using air conditioners.

Lenore Taylor at The Guardian Australia referred to a study suggesting the cost is at $350 per year. The Energy Supply Association of Australia had also suggested that solar users have an unfair advantage, avoiding paying network costs but still relying upon it in peak times, whereas the CPD report showed that solar panels reduce the subsidy as they reduce demand.

Most solar households end up only paying a fraction of their fair share of the cost of maintaining the network. They’re not doing it deliberately, it’s just the way the billing arrangements for electricity were set up, long before rooftop solar reached the scale we see today.

But in a study for the Australian PV network, the Centre for Policy Development found that solar photo-voltaic panels actually reduced the cross subsidy because to whatever extent solar is operating during times of high demand, it reduces that demand.

Read the article at The Guardian

Find out more from CPD’s Getting the facts right on Solar



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