Solar Users Put Heat on Queensland Government for Solar Discrimination
31 May 2013
Following the Queensland Competition Authority’s announcement that the cost of electricity in Queensland is set to rise by over 20%, Solar Citizens, an advocacy group representing current and future solar users, has written to Queensland’s Premier Campbell Newman and Mark McArdle, Minister for Energy and Water Supply.
They are asking them to address a number of critical questions about Mr McArdle’s misleading statements on the impact of solar on energy costs in Queensland. Solar Citizens has given the politicians until 19 June to respond as it activates its growing membership on this issue.
“As the Government prepares to increase the cost of electricity for Queenslanders, they are ignoring the true solution for cheaper bills—solar and renewable energies, as well as cutting energy usage. These are cost effective measures that allow people to take control of their bills and of their energy use,” Dr Geoff Evans, Campaign Manager for Solar Citizens, says.
“But, instead of highlighting the positives of solar, it appears that the Government is paving the way to discriminate against the state’s 300,000 solar owners.”
Recently, the Queensland Competition Authority (QCA) has recommended that solar owners be put on a higher service fee tariff, just because they use less power.
Dr Evans says that implementing this increase would actually be inconsistent with Minister McArdle’s own policies.
“In December of just last year, Mr McArdle said that there would be no fixed charge of any sort on people using solar,” Dr Evans continues.
“However, now it appears that the Minister is going back on his word, preparing to advise Cabinet to put a tariff on solar users only. This is nothing short of discrimination against families who have moved to solar to reduce their costs,” Dr Evans says.
“There are over 300,000 solar users in Queensland, who have invested over $2.2 billion dollars of their own money into reducing their electricity costs and doing their part to help our environment.”
“It appears that the Government is looking to penalise them for trying to take energy production back into their own hands. And, they are justifying doing so on the basis of spurious arguments.”
Solar Citizens have asked Premier Newman and Mr McArdle to address potential penalties being unfairly imposed on solar owners (letter and questions available here).
“We’ve asked for a response by 19 June, and, until then, we’re communicating with our growing membership about what’s happening. It’s time the Premier did the right thing for energy use in Queensland, and Solar Citizens will be keeping watch to make sure he does,” Dr Evans says.