Return of the Great Solar Rip-off

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Contact: Mark Parnell MLC

As South Australians gear up for another sun-drenched Australia Day public holiday, a decision by the Essential Services Commission of South Australia (ESCOSA) could spark the return of the “Great Solar Rip-off”, according to Greens SA Parliamentary Leader, Mark Parnell MLC.

“This Australia Day, the Greens are calling on electricity retailers to give South Australia’s 200,000 solar households a fair go by paying them a fair price for the solar power they generate,” Mr Parnell said.

“The decision by ESCOSA late last year means big electricity companies no longer have to pay anything for electricity fed into the grid from solar panels.

“The new minimum payment of “zero cents” could trigger a return to the bad old days which saw electricity companies pay solar households nothing for solar power which they could then on-sell to other customers at a profit.

“Ten years ago, the Greens convinced the Government to set a “fair and reasonable” minimum price.  Last month it was 6.8 cents per kilowatt hour, now it’s zero. 

“As we think about Australian values this Australia Day, about a third of SA households are at risk of being ripped off by big companies using reverse Robin Hood tactics – taking from ordinary South Australians and giving it to rich power companies.

“This is a real kick in the guts for the one third of SA households who have invested in solar power.

“It’s un-Australian to rip off your fellow citizens. Solar households deserve our praise for investing in clean energy; they shouldn’t be ripped off by big power companies.

“States that don’t have minimum retailer payments for solar power, generally pay less than the “fair and reasonable” price that applied in SA until 4 weeks ago.  For example, AGL customers are paid less in Victoria (5 cents), NSW (6.1 cents) & Qld (6 cents) than in SA (6.8 cents).  Other companies are similar.  Why?  Because they are allowed to.

“The Greens will be watching power companies carefully. If they revert to their bad old ways of paying nothing (or a pittance) for solar power, we’ll ask the Parliament to once again pull them into line,” Mr Parnell concluded.

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