Newman govt to cut solar bonus from July

THE Queensland government will axe the 8 cents feed-in tariff on solar panels from July 1 - a move it claims will help reduce electricity prices for those without solar energy.

The mandated 8 cent tariff paid to PV Solar owners by the network businesses Energex and Ergon will end on 30 June 2014 and retail businesses will then be responsible for offering tariffs.

The change is expected to have a dramatic impact on the multi-million-dollar solar industry in Queensland which is a major employer.

Energy and Water Supply Minister Mark McArdle said this government was committed to putting downward pressure on electricity prices for Queenslanders.

"The reckless spending of the previous Labor Government, the carbon tax and renewable energy targets mean electricity prices are much higher than they should be," Mr McArdle said in a statement on Thursday.

"Left unchecked, the 8 cent feed-in tariff would cost Queensland households and businesses an extra $110 million on their power bills over the next six years.

"The changes announced today will lift the cost burden from the network businesses, making the scheme fairer for all Queensland consumers.

"These reforms will mean electricity retailers will pay any newly negotiated solar tariff direct to users.

"These are common-sense decisions that will produce a positive outcome for existing customers on the 8 cent rate, as well as new solar owners.

"The existing 44 cent feed-in tariff will remain unchanged for customers that remain eligible."

Due to different levels of competition between south east Queensland and regional areas there will be different tariff arrangements:

Ergon Region

Given the very limited competition outside the south east corner, Ergon Energy customers will continue to receive a tariff paid by Ergon Retail.

This rate will be set by the Queensland Competition Authority until there is enough retail competition in regional areas to make solar more self-sufficient.

Energex Region

Energex will no longer pay the 8 cent feed-in tariff.

Customers will be able to negotiate a tariff with their retailer.

The Government will not regulate a rate.

Changes to the Electricity Industry Code would require retailers to provide customers in south-east Queensland with better information about market feed-in tariff rates, terms and conditions so that they could make informed choices to benefit from the strong competition.

Further information on Queensland's Solar Bonus Scheme is available at www.dews.qld.gov.au or by phoning 13 43 87.


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