ACOSS welcomes the new rules issued today by the independent Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC), which will require smart investment in electricity networks to support the growth of household solar, continue to reward solar customers and reduce bills for the millions of people who rent, live in apartments or are financially disadvantaged.
The rule change is a result of a two year consultation process initiated by ACOSS and the Total Environment Centre (TEC), in partnership with members of the Distributed Energy Integration Program (DEIP), culminating in complementary rule change requests from a number of consultation participants, including ACOSS and TEC.
ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie said, “This electricity reform is a crucial next step to accelerate household use and supply of solar energy, and to tackle the climate crisis in a fair and equitable way.
“Network companies will now be required to make smart investments to enable more energy exports like solar into the grid, and, for the first time, be able to recover costs when people use the grid to export energy, as well as consume energy.
“Solar owners will still make significant savings on electricity bills through self- consumption and will still be paid when they export, some may be able to export more and earn more. Non-solar households who don’t use the grid to export energy will contribute less to the cost of increasing export capacity.
“Everyone deserves affordable power. However, people experiencing financial disadvantage, especially those who rent, spend more of their income on essentials like energy and are contributing disproportionately more to some of the costs of the energy transition.
“The reform will reduce electricity bills for the millions of people who rent, live in apartments or are financially disadvantaged and therefore can’t access solar, while maintaining significant financial benefits for those who are able to access solar,” said Dr Goldie.
In making its final rule change determination the AEMC have implemented additional consumer benefits recommended by ACOSS and TEC, including preventing networks from applying zero export limits and providing customers a free-of-charge export service option.
ACOSS Senior Adviser Climate and Energy, Kellie Caught said, “The reforms mean millions more households in Australia can benefit from rooftop solar, however there is still a risk people experiencing financial disadvantage will be left out without targeted support by Governments.
“ACOSS is calling on federal and states to invest in improving the energy efficiency and solar uptake of low-income homes including in public and community housing, for low-income home owners and low-income rental properties.
“Investing in energy efficiency and solar uptake of low-income homes will mean people could afford to heat their homes, cook food, and afford other essentials; create thousands of jobs in cities and the bush and cut carbon pollution!
“Today’s reforms send a signal that we must and can accelerate the transition to clean energy in a fair and equitable way.” preventing networks from applying zero export limits and providing customers a free-of-charge export service option.
Read the AEMC media release here
Find out more on the AEMC New Energy Guide site