Queensland solar feed-in tariff to stick around

solar

The feed-in tariff for solar-powered households is here to stay, despite recommendations that it be scrapped.

The Queensland Government made the announcement in response to the Queensland Productivity Commission’s final report on electricity pricing, which was released six months ago.

The Productivity Commission recommended the Solar Bonus Scheme 44c feed-in tariff be scrapped before 2028.

The government has chosen to retain the tariff, which will cost $90 annually per household, or $3 billion over the life of the scheme.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said these measures will stabilise electricity prices.

The Premier said the Queensland Government’s response to the QPC Report was another step in delivering price stability to electricity consumers following the 43 per cent increase in power bills under the Nicholls-Newman government.

Energy Minister Mark Bailey also welcomed the report and said the government had also accepted a recommendation to reform the Queensland energy concessions framework to improve support to vulnerable customers.

“These changes will provide support to an additional 157,000 low-income families, bringing the total number of households assisted in Queensland to approximately 688,000 in 2016-17,” Mr Bailey said.

“Commonwealth Health Care Card holders and asylum seekers will be eligible to receive the electricity rebate.

“They can apply to their retailer for the rebate from 1 April 2017, with payments back-dated to 1 January 2017.”

An electricity rebate for holders of a Pensioner Concession Card, Veteran Affairs Gold Card or a Queensland Seniors Card has also been retained, and over two years, $10m will be provided to regional business customers to deliver improved access to services.

Mr Bailey said the government’s decision not to accept a small number of the recommendations was supported by a sound policy rationale based on strategic goals and the need to remain flexible and responsive to emerging sectoral challenges in the future.

“In particular, the government does not accept recommendations concerning generator rebidding behaviour in the wholesale electricity market, has ruled out early closure of the Solar Bonus Scheme, and will not remove access to electricity concessions for Queensland Seniors Card holders,” he said.

The Queensland Government has asked the QPC to determine a fair price (or fair prices) for solar power produced at the home or business premises of a ‘small customer’ and exported into the electricity grid.

An official government response to the QPC’s report on Solar Feed-In Pricing is due later today.