Solar power makes sense economically and will save even more as grid power prices are set to rise sharply. Storage batteries are not cheap but they are a great backup in storms and help you get the most value out of your solar.Eddyl1

  1. Download the information provided here on a range of options: – Net metering, Virtual net metering, hybrid systems, off the grid, microgrids etc.
  2.  Download information on  understanding batteries and how to compare different systems.
  3. Confirm the information with providers and decide a course of action early.

Your local network provider is Essential Energy, a private company wholly owned by the NSW government. Last year Essential Energy had an income of over $2 billion and posted a very healthy profit of $266 million  of which half was paid directly into government coffers. Source: Essential Energy Annual Report.

Essential Energy has lodged an application to AER (Australian Energy Regulator) to raise the fixed daily rate connection fees by 18% over three years on the basis that this will be more “efficient”. It means you will pay more regardless of net energy use. Time of use rates will also rise by 16% for peak and 23% for off peak. The application will be decided in July this year. See Tariff Structure Statement

There was no proposal to support solar feed in rebates. Essential Energy even considered an extra fee for solar feed-in but dropped it due to public antipathy. Essential Energy completely fails to recognise solar producers as co-investors in the system and brushes aside the admitted benefit of reduced summer peak loads. As a consequence their policies are actually encouraging people to go off the grid.

Essential Energy is not a power provider. Fees charged by Essential Energy are only for the use of the poles and wires and represent over half the fixed connection costs plus about a third of the kilowatt hour costs paid by consumers.

Written by Greg Reid

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