Plans for WA ‘sun tax’ condemned by Solar Citizens - Solar Citizens

Plans for WA ‘sun tax’ condemned by Solar Citizens

Western Australia’s more than 191,000 solar homeowners are angered by a plan from the State-owned electricity provider Synergy to slug solar rooftop owners with an unfair ‘sun tax’.

Solar Citizens Consumer Campaigner, Reece Turner, said the discriminatory charge would hit Western Australian solar homeowners hard and risks holding back investment in cheaper, clean energy.

“Premier Colin Barnett should immediately rule out the idea of a ‘sun tax’ as proposed by Synergy,” he said.

Lyndon Rowe, the Chair of Synergy, has today proposed changes to electricity pricing in West Australia that would mean higher consumers would pay more but would also see solar rooftop owners charged an extra fixed fee in their electricity bill.

“Solar Citizens welcomes efforts to ensure that electricity users are encouraged to use power sensibly but targeting solar households is not the way to go. It’s a ludicrous idea that Premier Barnett should step in and rule out immediately,”

“More than one in five homes are powered by the sun. These people have made the sensible decision to invest in clean, abundant energy and should not be penalised”, Turner said.

“Synergy is looking for a scapegoat to cover up for it’s spiralling budget losses. The reality is that the Government has over invested in electricity generation and network capacity (sometimes called ‘gold plating’) at a time when demand for electricity has been falling. There are estimates that over-investment in West Australia’s electricity system was $3.85bn in 2011-12 alone(1). This cost is ultimately borne by customers”

“There have been good initiatives made by the WA Govt and Synergy recently such as investing in and piloting battery storage and reducing red tape for residences to install their own battery storage.

“ We have seen Similar proposals in South Australia and New South Wales but following public outcry in both cases these charges have been ruled out. The ‘sun tax’ proposal should be binned by Premier Barnett before the ink is dry”, concluded Turner

Media contact: Siobhan Lyttle 0432 828 004

(1) The Sorry State of WA’s Electricity Market Reform, Adam McHugh, The Conversation October 2012