Queensland solar reform a win for consumers

The Queensland government’s announcement to axe the feed-in tariff (FiT) for roof-top solar (known as the Solar Bonus Scheme) and introduce Strong Choices Electricity Price Relief has been welcomed by the Energy Retailers Association of Australia (ERAA).

Chief executive of the ERAA Cameron O’Reilly said the retail energy industry supports the government’s decision to let the market provide a solar subsidy in South-East Queensland.

“We believe competition for customers will ensure the market delivers competitive FiT rates for solar PV customers,” Mr O’Reilly said.

The government subsidy ended on June 30 for customers in the Energex region and, given limited competition outside the south-east corner, Ergon Energy customers will continue to receive a tariff paid set by the Queensland Competition Authority (QCA).

In the QCA’s final report into fair and reasonable feed-in tariffs, it recommended the Queensland government should not fix prices for future feed-in tariffs in the competitive retail market of South-East Queensland.

Mr O’Reilly said many energy retailers are already offering voluntary payments in the market, and the government’s decision supports what is naturally occurring through market competition.

“Feed in tariffs have encouraged roof top solar PV systems however offering over-generous feed-in tariffs to new solar customers would result in all Queenslanders paying even more on their bills to subsidise households with rooftop solar,” he said.

“This plan, coupled with the recent decision to move to market monitoring of electricity prices in July 2015, means Queenslanders will soon see more competition, greater choice and better services in the retail energy market. This will ultimately help ease cost of living pressures for households.”