Monday, August 04, 2008

Who is footing whose bill?

Due to increasing wholesale prices, the ACT electricity regulatory authority recently approved a 7.1% increase in electricity prices, which the utility passed on to us retail customers.

In addition to this regulated price increase, the utility also increased the ‘green energy’ surcharge (which is unregulated) by 18%.

All up, the price for green energy customers increases by 10%- much closer to the 11.3% increase sought by the utility.

The optimistic interpretation of this situation is that increased demand has driven up the price of clean energy. The pessimistic interpretation is that the utility is using its green customers to pay for increased dirty energy costs that the regulator didn’t allow it to pass on. Unfortunately, I can’t find any of the wholesale price information necessary to distinguish between these two possibilities. If any of y’all can, please post in comments.

1 comment:

observa said...

LL, here's a glimpse of what's going on in SA-

"TWO electricity retailers are reaping a $350,000 annual windfall after they stopped paying households for power generated by rooftop solar panel systems.

Greens MLC Mark Parnell has launched an online petition to force Origin Energy and AGL to continue paying for electricity produced by South Australian households.
If unsuccessful, he has vowed to introduce legislation to ensure residents who install solar panels are rewarded for their environmental efforts.

Before July 1, the two power companies paid between 16c and 24c per kilowatt hour to customers for the excess power they fed into the grid from their solar panels.

Since then, their customers only receive a new 44c kW/h tariff paid by ETSA Utilities.

TRUenergy passes on the 44c tariff as well as its 20c for each kW/h of electricity, totalling 64c.

Mr Parnell said retailers were saving at least $350,000 a year in payments to customers by not purchasing the estimated 2.2 gigawatts of electricity produced by domestic solar panel systems in SA.

He said the more electricity companies source from solar panels, the less they have to source on the wholesale market.

"Households doing the right thing by investing in solar cells are being dudded, and ordinary South Australians, who are paying extra to fund the feed-in scheme, have every right to be angry," Mr Parnell said.

"The feed-in incentive should be on top of, not replace, what the electricity retailers were already paying. Otherwise, SA electricity consumers are effectively paying almost half of the feed-in benefit directly to the big end of town, not to the householder with panels."

He it was unfair that customers who bought GreenPower from retailers paid extra for the emission-free electricity, yet retailers paid nothing for household solar power.

He has written to the Essential Services Commission to ask them to investigate the issue."