- Date published:
2:39 pm, April 15th, 2016 - 98 comments
Categories: energy, infrastructure, sustainability, uncategorized - Tags: power, power prices, price signals, profit gouging, renewable energy, solar power
Not knowing anything about the electricity industry, this looks like a difficult topic to me:
Another lines company ponders solar charge
Lines company Eastland Group is considering following the example of the Hawke’s Bay lines company Unison and imposing an extra lines charge on people using solar panels. But a final decision has not been made and can not happen for another year.
Two weeks ago, Unison put an extra tariff on people installing solar panels to offset its losses from getting lower lines payments from these households.
It said the cost of maintaining the line remained the same and without an extra charge, people without solar panels would subsidise those who have them. … “We don’t want people who can afford to put solar on the roofs of their houses to be getting a subsidy from those that do not have solar,” Mr Todd said.
The electric lines industry has said many times that people using solar panels and batteries pay lower power bills, making less money available to pay for the electricity grid. Yet most solar panel users still need that grid to be available as a fallback when solar power dries up overnight or on cloudy days.
We should be encouraging solar systems as they reduce carbon emissions – go renewable energy! But here we are reducing (eliminating?) the cost savings, sending exactly the wrong price signals.
On the other hand the argument that the grid still needs to be there and and be maintained is valid. Should this be a communal resource that everyone contributes to equally or should those with solar be subsidised by those without? (Is the subsidy argument valid, or is this just profit gouging from lines companies?)
There are 28 lines companies in New Zealand all facing falling revenue and static fixed costs.
I’m willing to bet that’s a big part of the problem.
I’m puzzled on this one, interested in your thoughts….