New fee for solar customers

Electricity distributor SA Power Networks is developing plans to charge solar system owners a transportation fee for excess solar electricity exports during daytime hours.

These fees will then be used to improve the network so that more solar electricity can be utilised; as part of the move towards “cost reflective tariffs”, only solar generators will need to pay for this capacity, rather than the cost being paid by all users of the network. Conversely, solar generators may receive a payment if they can export energy during peak evening hours.

Every five years, electricity distribution businesses such as SA Power Networks must submit a “Regulatory Reset Proposal” to the Australian Energy Regulator, to make their case for their business plans for the next five years, and for the tariffs they propose to collect from customers. As part of this process, businesses are required to consult with customer representatives about the various aspects of their plans, to explain and gain customer support.

SA Power Networks’ planning for the 2025-30 Regulatory Period is well underway, with a number of “broad and diverse” consultations held in early 2022 leading into a number of “focussed conversations” which kicked off in July 2022. The outcomes of these conversations will inform a “People’s Panel”, to be hosted between November 2022 and February 2023.

ConnectEd Coordinator Heather Merran has been a part of several of these focussed conversations, representing low-income and otherwise vulnerable electricity consumers.

One of the important themes of these conversations is SA Power Networks’ planning to further “the energy transition”, from centralised fossil fuelled electricity to decentralised renewable supply. Much of the electricity distribution network was first built in the 1950s and 60s, and will need some clever upgrades to work at its best under 21st Century conditions. Some of these upgrades fall under “business as usual”, while others represent a more proactive response to rapid change.

The plan to introduce solar export fees is a response to a new rule made in 2021. The new tariff is likely to be introduced progressively between 2025 and 2030.

Want to read more?

Visit the Solar Analytics website for the who, what, when, where, why and how much of solar export tariffs.

SA Power Networks Talking Power website provides an overview of the stages in its 2025-30 Regulatory Reset.

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