Queensland’s Energy Minister Mark McArdle has announced a shake-up of the solar feed-in tariff, with households no longer guaranteed the eight cents.
Households with solar panels will no longer be guaranteed the eight cents feed-in tariff, with the union saying the rug has been pulled out from 40,000 Queenslanders.
When the current rate ends on June 30, responsibility for paying the tariff will switch from government-owned distributors to retailers.
And consumers will have to negotiate directly with their retailer for the price they are paid.
Given the very limited competition outside the southeast corner, Ergon Energy customers will continue to receive a tariff paid by Ergon Retail.
Energy Minister Mark McArdle says the changes will ease electricity price rises for the rest of Queenslanders.
“Left unchecked, the eight cent feed-in tariff would cost Queensland households and businesses an extra $110 million on their power bills over the next six years,” he said.
The existing 44 cent feed-in tariff, paid to some 284,000 who initially signed up to the scheme, will remain unchanged.
Electrical Trades Union state organiser Stuart Traill says the LNP has a pathological hatred of renewable energy.
He questioned the bargaining power for the 40,000 consumers on the eight cents feed-in tariff when coming up against large energy corporations.
He also criticised the plan for being ill considered, with the returns minuscule compared to how much would be saved from reforms to the 44 cent feed-in tariff.
“It is a fact that this decision will leave six times as many solar customers still on the higher 44c/KwH rate so any ‘savings’ on electricity bills will be negligible,” he said.
Community group Solar Citizens national director Lindsay Soutar says the decision is incredibly unfair and makes it difficult for consumers to get a good deal.
“They simply don’t have the bargaining power,” she said.
“When retailers set the rules, solar owners lose.”