Is AGL’s ‘Solar Savers’ 20c Feed-In Tariff A Good Deal?

AGL 20c Feed In Tariff - Solar Savers

AGL’s 20 cent feed-in tariff could be  a good deal for efficient homes with over 5 kilowatts of inverter capacity.

If I were to ask:

“Would you like a 20 cent feed-in tariff for the electricity your solar system sends into the grid?”

Chances are at least some of you would reply:

“A whole 20 cents?  That’s more than what I’m getting now, so yeah, baby!  Yeah!”

You may not reply exactly like that, but there are plenty of people who’d be glad to snag themselves a 20 cent feed-in tariff, as there aren’t many that high around these days.  If you’re interested an AGL Solar Savers plan can provide it to you — if you live in South East Queensland, NSW, Victoria, or South Australia and have a solar panel capacity of 10 kilowatts or less1.

But beware!  Retail electricity plans with high solar feed-in tariffs come at a high price!

Quite literally.  They charge a high price for the grid electricity you use.  Solar Savers doesn’t have the discounts AGL usually gives their plans, so you will pay more for grid electricity in return for its 20 cent feed-in tariff.  But if the amount of surplus solar electricity you export to the grid is high enough in comparison to the amount of grid electricity you use, you can come out ahead.  For households with over 5 kilowatts of inverter capacity Solar Savers compares well with other high feed-in tariff plans and it may still be worthwhile for those with inverters of 5 kilowatts or less.

Why I Am Giving AGL Free Advertising

The reason why I’m giving AGL free advertising with this article is because AGL themselves don’t draw much attention to their 20 cent feed-in tariff.  Information on it does appear on their site but it does not make it clear how tariff options depend on what type of electricity meter people have.  It also appears they often don’t make information about it available to online tools2 for comparing electricity prices3.  So there may be plenty of the people out there who could benefit if they knew about it.

It’s possible AGL gives it a low profile because they don’t want too many people taking up their Solar Savers plan and if demand rises they may stop offering it.  But it lasts for two years and has no exit fees, so if you get it now you will be set for a while without being locked in – and if it becomes unavailable to others you can always blame me for killing the golden goose.

However it increases how much you have to pay for grid electricity so it may be more of an aluminium goose than a golden one4.

If You Have A Smart Meter You Are Not Free To Choose A Standard Tariff

A drawback of the Solar Savers plan is you are not free to choose a standard tariff if you have a smart meter.  You will be limited to either a time-of-use tariff or a demand tariff5.  This is unfortunate as solar households are usually better off with a standard tariff.

The Solar Savers Feed-In Tariff Can Be Far Higher Than Usual

Here’s how AGL’s usual feed-in tariff stacks up against Solar Savers’ 20 cents:

AGL solar feed in tariff comparison

It’s over 75% higher everywhere except South Australia.  The precise percentages are:

  • SA:  23% higher
  • SE QLD:  89% higher
  • VIC:  77% higher
  • NSW:  80% higher

Grid Electricity Charges Are Higher With Solar Savers

Generally AGL residential plans come with discounts that reduce the cost of electricity.  Looking up comparable AGL plans, such as their Residential Saver that also doesn’t have an exit fee, I see the discounts you will miss out on are:

  • SA: 11%
  • SE QLD: 26%
  • VIC: 30%
  • NSW: 20%

Unfortunately, these discounts don’t apply to your entire bill.  They just apply to the kilowatt-hours you purchase and not the fixed supply charge portion.  They also don’t apply to all your kilowatt-hour charge.  Because AGL and most other electricity retailers are eldritch Lovecraftian abominations that dwell in dimensions with non-Euclidian geometry, they only apply the discount to the first 90%.  This means the actual discounts on kilowatt-hour charges are:

  • SA: 9.1%
  • SE QLD: 22.7%
  • VIC: 26.4%
  • NSW: 17.3%

If I express those figures as a percentage of the full price you have to pay and shove them in a graph we get:

Solar Savers kilowatt hour charges comparison

Because of the higher cost of grid electricity, Solar Savers plans will only pay for themselves if a home exports enough solar electricity.  Working out the point it will pay for itself isn’t too difficult for a standard tariff, which are unfortunately only available to homes that don’t have a smart meter.

There Is No Standard Tariff Solar Savers Plan For Those With Smart Meters

There are three types of electricity tariff in Australia:

  1. Standard tariffs:  These charge a flat rate for each kilowatt-hour of electricity used and are usually the best for solar households.
  2. Time-of-use tariffs:  The amount charged depends on what time of day the electricity is used and can be charged at peak, shoulder, and off-peak rates.
  3. Demand tariffs:  Households suffer an additional charge based upon how much power is drawn at certain times.

The type of tariff you can get with a Solar Savers plan will depend upon what kind of electricity meter you have.  You can only have a standard tariff if you don’t have a smart meter.  If you do have a smart meter then you can only have a Solar Savers plan with a time-of-use tariff or a demand tariff.  This is despite the fact that a smart meter is quite capable of supporting a standard tariff6.

Since the first of December last year all newly installed electricity meters have had to be smart meters.  So if you’ve had a solar power system installed since then you’ll have one.  (Unless you are still waiting for it to be installed.)  If you haven’t had a new meter installed since then, chances are you don’t have a smart meter — unless you are in Victoria where pretty much everyone has one.

AGL’s Website Does Not Make Tariff Conditions Clear — But Agent Christopher Does!

If you try looking up the energy price fact sheets for Solar Saver plans it is confusing. In Victoria where just about everyone one has a smart meter they have a standard tariff plan. In South East Queensland and South Australia where smart meters are rare they don’t have standard tariff plans.  To clear this up I contacted Christopher who is an Agent of AGL.  Agent Christopher explained the tariffs types available depend on what type of electricity meter you have and not what type of plan is shown on their site.  If you want to read my extremely exciting and not at all incredibly boring conversation with Agent Christopher I’ve put it below:

Chat with AGL

It’s a pity that AGL’s site isn’t clearer.  It would have saved me time and no doubt Agent Christopher has more important things to do such as make love to Vladimir Putin and foil the plans of beautiful women.  If only there were some way to inform AGL of the problem… I know!  Maybe if I shout loud enough they’ll hear me!

Hey!  AGL!  Every time someone calls you or uses your chat service it costs you money!  If you make the information about your Solar Savers plans clearer on your website you’ll save a few bucks!

Of course it’s always possible they don’t want many people using it…

The Solar Savers Break Even Point

If you are on a Solar Savers plan with a standard tariff in a state capital then the lack of discounts will cause every kilowatt-hour of grid electricity you use to cost you this much more:

  • Adelaide: 3.78 cents more
  • Brisbane: 6.37 cents more
  • Melbourne: 7.84 cents more7
  • Sydney: 5.50 cents more

But you will earn this much more in feed-in tariff for every kilowatt-hour of solar electricity you export to the grid:

  • Adelaide: 3.7 cents
  • Brisbane: 9.4 cents
  • Melbourne: 8.7 cents
  • Sydney: 8.9 cents

So in Adelaide you must export over 1.02 kilowatt-hours to the grid for for each kilowatt-hour of grid electricity you use for a Solar Savers plan to be worthwhile.  Because I’m in a graphy sort of mood today here’s a graph of the break even points for the four capitals:

Break even points for Solar Saver plan

As the graph above shows, in Adelaide you’ll need to send more electricity into the grid than you take from it for a Solar Savers plan to be worthwhile, while in Sydney you’ll only need to export solar electricity equal to 62% of your grid consumption.

I made Melbourne a lighter shade of blue than the other cities in the graph because this result is for a Solar Savers plan with a standard tariff which is only available if you don’t have a smart meter and almost everyone has one in Victoria.

Required Solar System Size

Households with electricity consumption that is around the average for homes with little or no gas uses will need solar power systems of roughly the following sizes to export enough solar electricity for a Solar Savers plan to be worthwhile with a standard tariff:

  • Adelaide: 5 kilowatts
  • Brisbane: 3.5 kilowatts
  • Melbourne: 5 kilowatts
  • Sydney: 3.5 kilowatts

So if your solar power system is around the required size or larger — while not exceeding the 10 kilowatt limit — it could be worthwhile checking to see if the amount of electricity you are sending into the grid is enough compared to your grid electricity consumption to make a Solar Savers plan worthwhile.  If you can, use information from over a full year to avoid seasonal variation.

AGL logo

I don’t know what AGL’s logo is supposed to be, but there is at least one person who doesn’t like it.

Solar Savers Plans & Time-Of-Use Tariffs

Because households with solar panels use little electricity during the day, if they are on a time-of-use tariff a large portion of the grid electricity they consume tends to occur during peak times in the evening.  This means they often pay more on average for grid electricity than if they were on a standard tariff.  This makes the discounts available with AGL’s other plans more valuable as they will save more money.  So, generally speaking, a home with a time-of-use tariff will need to export more solar electricity relative to its grid consumption for an AGL Solar Savers plan to be worthwhile.

Solar Savers Plans & Demand Tariffs

Because demand tariff plans have lower kilowatt-hour charges, discounts are less valuable and so less electricity may need to be exported relative to grid electricity consumption for a Solar Saver plan to be worthwhile.

AGL Solar Savers’ Value Depends On Location & Individual Circumstances

Generally speaking, if your inverter capacity is larger than 5 kilowatts and your solar panel capacity is 10 kilowatts or less an AGL Solar Savers plan is likely to be the best high feed-in tariff plan available.  This is because other retailers offering high feed-in tariffs often have a limit of 5 kilowatts for either inverter or solar panel capacity.  If your inverter is 5 kilowatts or less it’s less clear which plan will be best.

I’m not going to try to compare all the high feed-in tariff plans to attempt to work out which is the best for people with 5 kilowatts of inverter capacity or less.  That would be a lot of work and would probably annoy some people and result in electricity retailers sending even more ninja assassins around to my place to drink my beer, sit on my couch, and wear out my VHS copies of Ninja Turtle Movies.  Instead I’ll just give my impression of how competitive high feed-in tariff plans are for homes with inverters of 5 kilowatts or less in different regions:

  • South Australia — Lots of competition around.  Definitely check other high tariff plans to see if you can get a better deal.
  • SE Queensland — Less competition.  AGL’s Solar Saver looks like it has a good chance of coming out on top.
  • Victoria — Lots of competition.  I recommend shopping around.
  • NSW — Less competition.  You may find a deal better for you, but AGL’s Solar Saver looks good.
AGL Agent Christopher

This is my impression of AGL Agent Christopher. He gave off a strong Hugo Weaving vibe.

 

Footnotes

  1. Update 16 August: Some commenters have mentioned solar systems larger than 10 kilowatts have received that 20 cent feed-in tariff, so this may not be a strict limit
  2. No, I am not an online tool.  (A tool is something useful.)
  3. It is possible I am mistaken about this since I am not computer savvy.  As far as I am concerned computers have only gone down hill ever since they started making the switches too small to be seen with the naked eye — from 30 paces across the room.
  4. Aluminium is still a valuable metal: $2.74 a kilogram at the moment.  So when you get 10 cents for taking an aluminium can to a South Australian recycler you’re receiving 2.5 times the market price of the metal in it.
  5. Update 16 August: It has been mentioned in the comments that people with smart meters have received an AGL Solar Savers plan with a standard tariff, so it may be possible despite what I was told by AGL.
  6. Back at the end of last century we were told electricity reforms would lower prices and increase consumer choice.  It looks like they’re aiming for zero out of two.
  7. This is in the centre of Melbourne.  The figure may be slightly different in the suburbs.  The figure for Sydney is also from its “centre” and may be a little different in the western suburbs.
About Ronald Brakels

Many years ago now, Ronald Brakels was born in Toowoomba. He first rose to international prominence when his township took up a collection to send him to Japan, which was the furthest they could manage with the money they raised. He became passionately interested in environmental matters upon his return to Australia when the local Mayor met him at the airport and explained it was far too dangerous for him to return to Toowoomba on account of climate change and mutant attack goats. Ronald then moved to a property in the Adelaide Hills where he now lives with his horse, Tonto 23.

Comments

  1. What about us poor buggers in the west,the east cost takes our gst but we don’t get a mention on power in any discussion

    • Not a Lefty Victorian says

      Hey Brian. The previous GST deal for WA was truly unfair. But please drop the parochial attitude about the East Coast. NSW has propped up this country and paid for your infrastructure many years before the mining boom. Try and look at the big picture.

    • Ronald Brakels says

      Hi Brian

      There’s no retailer choice in WA, so I’m afraid this article is of no interest to you. Western Australia dodged a bullet there, as it has pushed up prices here in the eastern states. Unfortunately WA has made mistakes of its own so its situation is far from perfect. Very far. Maybe I should stay in WA for a few months. That would get me writing about the place more.

    • Hello all,
      signed up for solar system in the last 2 weeks of June 2019. Rang AGL and they said Feed In Tarriff payment would be 0.20c Kw. Yep all OK – Instructed to ring AGL on 11th July – Installation day for panels, the system was up and running- all OK.
      Speaking with AGL at 4 p.m 0n 11th July, they said:
      “You can’t get 0.20c FIT any more, the Govt. Regulator has cut the rate to 14.3c Kw as of 01st July, 2019 – and you have to ring us back in 10 days after your installation.
      That call will be on the 21st July 2019 to set up new Declarations, to enquire about supply charges, to find out about our P.M. usage rates- standard tariff?, time of use tariff ? on demand tariff? or anything else that you want to know”.
      Ten days of Us feeding in solar energy to them via the grid, NO idea of what they will charge during that time, NO idea of our FIT’s, or our Usage costs -between install and AFTER that-

      It seems that 6 weeks of Internet research, communications with solar installers and our current provider -AGL- and this retailer (AGL) cannot tell us anything about our contribution –

      Do they have to work out a “New Plan of Action” for each new solar connected customer? Is it all so secret that we are left in the dark at this point? Pun intended!!
      BUT – SOLAR WHOLESALERS at Mt. Barker were the utmost professionals, helpful, knowelegable, friendly, and even used a Leaf blowere to clean out the guttering at the end of the install.
      AAAAAA rating to them – and Cheers all round – Use this company, none better!
      AGL should get off their butts and respond ASAP to their clients, not fend them off with “grey” instructions and lack of concrete information.

      NOT HAPPY with AGL ###
      from: THE PIGEON PALACE people.

      • The FiT that AGL offer If you are in Victoria have a minimum FiT set by Government legislation but AGL are allowed to offer a higher rate. The FiT is not the same as the one the Government used to offer.

      • Hi I have been with AGL for 8 months. They had a great solar and electricity usages page that let you analyse your use by hour day month year and progressive bill. They have now changed it to anincomprehensible page that shows me daily use with no breakdowns. Very upset.

  2. I just signed up for AGL’s single rate no discounts tariff. According to energywatch.gov.au it is cheaper than any AGL plan with discounts. I also looked at Alinta’s 30% discount offer only available to”Goswitch” subscribers. All “discount” plans were more expensive than the no discount plan. The rate at which they hike the price of electricity and then “discount” it is ridiculous. Even AGL’s website shows the no discount plan is cheaper than the “discounts” How they get away with this is unbelievable.
    Also my problem is Essential Energy in country NSW claims they need to protect their wires by only allowing me to export 2Kw from my solar system. So higher feed in tariffs don’t work here.

    • Ronald Brakels says

      Hi Dave

      With a 2 kilowatt export limit the 20 cent feed-in can be more valuable than most would expect. Because solar systems spend most of their time operating well below their full capacity for a number of reasons include clouds, the sun being low in the sky, and heat — and with reasonable self consumption of solar electricity during the day — it can still be worthwhile for a fair number of homes, even if their panel capacity is 5 to 6.6 kilowatts..

  3. Christopher says

    so if I was to put the shed on its own dedicated power could I still keep my 55 cent plan on the main house and have the sheds dedicated solar system do another 20 cents?

  4. I contacted AGL a couple of days ago because my current 12 month Savers plan comes to an end in September so I wanted to know well in advance what plan I would be offered but I wanted to know quickly so that if needed I could switch to another retailer (in SA can only switch each 1/4) .

    I ended up speaking to a person in AU (before that was hopeless OS operator) and I told him I want to know what plan I will be on and if not happy I will switch. Telling them this always seems to carry some weight because even some profit is better than no profit for them.

    He looked at my account and mentioned this 20c Feed-in plan and we looked at the losses of no discount versus extra feed-in from 16.3c to 20c and it was a no brainer that I will be better off on this new plan as I’m mainly an exporter and don’t take much from the grid and what I do is covered by my exports anyway.

    The import rates are the same as my current Solar plan including daily supply charges and they are variable rates anyway. From a rough calculation I’ll be better off up to $160 per year on this new plan. They were able to apply the new plan on the phone the day I called to take affect that day so bill will reflect old and new plan. I still have the 10 day cooling-off period if I need to use it.

    So for me I’m better off and as Ronald states it depends on your situation. If you are mainly an exporter it works in your favour.

  5. Ronald,
    As with all electricity “deals”, the devil in the detail is how much the bastards are charging for power and supply.

    Is there any chance of listing AGL’s “Solar Savers” charges for each state, please?
    i.e. Standard and Daily Supply charges for each state; and
    Peak, Shoulder, OffPeak and Supply charges for each State.

    And one person annoying AGL, ( you :> ) rather than a pile of us ringing for at least some aspects of the charges, would make life easier for everyone (except yourself, of course, but presumably that is why Finn is paying you the vast sums of money he is (or not). :>

    Thanks.

  6. Check out Energy Australia plans. They generally give high pay on time discounts and have lower daily supply charges and only $0.25 fixed rates with a $0.125 fit. Works out better than Click and Red energy.

    • Dave, As Ronald has pointed out, electricity rates really are “horses for courses”.

      The article is aimed at users with high feed-in (which often translates to low grid consumption). With these users on a Time of Use tariff, the low FIT kills the Energy Australia deal. In EA’s case there is no discount off the Daily Charge (which is higher than the AGL rate) other than the EA rate where it is slightly lower, but you are locked in with a two year contract with that one.

      It is interesting that the “swings and roundabouts” of the different rates between electricity retailers, at the end of the quarter often result if a price differential of two-thirds of five-eighths of sweet bugger all.

      As Ronald points out, AGL’s Solar Saver plan is worth looking at for consumers with low grid consumption and high feed-in.

      Being a cynic, you can wonder whether the two year limit on the AGL plan is relying on consumers to be too slack to change when shunted onto another of their plans at the end of that period. A further concern is whether this rate is an effort to put the financial squeeze on pesky, smaller retailers who are currently offering a higher FIT, but do not have sufficiently deep pockets to allow them to withstand a couple of years trying to compete on that level of FIT.

  7. Thank for the article Ronald. I signed up a few months ago after seeking an exemption to the stated 10kW (inverter) limit. The exact written response from the AGL resolutions team member, let’s call her ‘Trinity’ in keeping with The Matrix theme, was: “The 10kW solar system clause is applicable to government solar bonus schemes, which do not apply to you.” The $50 sign-up bonus credit was a nice little extra. Let it produce.

    • Ronald Brakels says

      That’s good to hear. I’ve added a footnote saying 10 kilowatts may not be a hard limit.

  8. Dennis Kavanagh says

    I just swapped to AGL Solar Savers – Victoria offer AGOMR00161. Based on my interval data over the last year, they should pay me about $1,550 a year which will be about $800 better than what GloBird was going to pay. That is amazing. Thanks Ronald! 🙂

  9. This kind of plan probably would not make sense in Winter in Melbourne, but might make sense in Summer. I’m wondering if it might not make sense to change plans (and possibly providers) in April and October to take advantage of the best plan for each time of the year.

  10. So far so good for me in Brisbane (5kW inverter / 6.6kW of panels).
    I’m sure the plan isn’t sustainable for them long-term, but if AGL and Origin want to race to the bottom, I’ll happily take advantage.

    • The more we export I think places less stress on the grid infrastructure because the power created does not need to run all over the state and probably more so just local use of it.

      I can very imagine that the various bodies associated with the electricity distribution network might give AGL a discount on daily supply charges because of less stress on transformers etc.

      That’s just a guess on my part. The whole thing is so convoluted and no-one seems to know how it all works.

      • Stewart, But isn’t AGL both a distributor AND a supplier?
        And don’t forget your period on the AGL offer only runs for two years before they transfer you to another of their plans if you hang around with them.

        As mentioned earlier – possibly the deal is all about putting the squeeze on smaller retailers without deep pockets, potentially leaving the larger retailers to resume their plundering some time down the track.

        • I think AGL is also involved in other areas of generation and who knows what but PowerSA here is the distributor but I get back to the point that it’s so convoluted and complicated so who knows what parties are involved and in the end it’s what it costs or earns me that I’m concerned with.

          Your squeeze theory is interesting. Time will tell I guess, I hope that does not eventuate though as we need the competition amongst the players involved. My Solar system will have paid for itself in another 2 years if things stay as they are now so I’ll be happy 🙂

        • mitchell lowe says

          the solar F.I.T. in s.a. is regulated by the govt and they steal the power in summer by lowering the F.I.T. and raising it when your solar is at its lowest in winter.As there is 2,000,000 million solar owners, plus wind farms, and solar farms there is no reason that prices should go up however the govt is increasing prices so more people are forced into getting solar as it benefits them. gst on the solar unit when purchased and then they get%75of the feed in and use that to give all there housing trust tenants free solar and battery back up . 50,000 of them which means that ordinary pensioners get nothing while housing trust tenants benefit at solar owners expense.It is like the nbn .we have been blackmailed to get (get nbn or we will cut of your phone and internet}we are putting up electricity for no other reason than to force people into investing in solar and when enough people have solar any feed in tariff will stop and then the govt will get it both ways .You will be paying for electricity and giving the govt enough feed in so that power plants will be on a need to use basis

  11. I am in Brisbane and have a 3.3kW PV system, and have moved over to AGL 20c FIT around 3 months ago. Am better off around $180 per year.
    It all depends on how much you export vs how much you consume off the grid.

  12. I just changed over to this plan today. It should make a huge difference in summer as I sometimes produce over 40 times what I use from the grid, though about 12 kWh of that has to offset the daily supply charge, as well as sub-standard performance in winter.

    I wonder if this would affect the economics installing a small battery, as the cost per kWh used is approaching 40c here in Victoria.

    • Ronald Brakels says

      Glad to hear you were able to sign up with about 12 kilowatts.

    • When you reach seniors age, you’ll receive a rebate for any Service/Connection charge > usage charge!! It’s amazing in summer, and it’s calculated BEFORE any discounts.

  13. James Fulleylove says

    Hi Ronald,

    Great article, however, I am not sure what you mean by “If You Have A Smart Meter You Are Not Free To Choose A Standard Tariff”

    I have a newly installed smart meter and am on the AGL 20c Fit with a flat rate standard tariff.

    There is no way I would have signed up if it was time of use. I live in QLD by the way.

    • James,
      Hopefully I am not “telling my grandmother how to suck eggs”, but:
      Are you sure you have a Smart Meter, rather than a standard digital meter?

      If somebody comes out to your property each quarter to physically read your meter, it is the latter.
      If not – then my apologies for questioning.

      As they say in the classics: “Just sayin’ “

    • Ronald Brakels says

      Looks like Agent Christopher may not have been correct. Glad to hear you were able to get the 20 cent feed-in tariff with a standard tariff. Hopefully others will as well.

  14. 80c PFiT!!!

  15. Grace du Prie says

    Thanks for this info. I changed over to this plan (Qld). Compared ALL charges and indeed, missing out on the 5% discount I got from Origen is not a problem when getting 20c FIT and basically the same charges.

  16. Hi Ronald. Are you able to comment on the situation in the ACT?

  17. We’ve just installed a 10kW system across 2 phases (SA). We’re a family of 5 and have high-ish after dark usage …. my initial conclusion based on our estimated usage/export implies the AGL essentials (16.3c FIT & 31.4c Grid usage, no discounts) still looks like it will work out cheaper than the Solar Savers…. I suspect unless you’re a very low grid power user, “IT’S A TRAP!”.

    Re above comments, we’re on a new 3-phase Smart Meter & have a fixed (peak) rate @ 31.4 (AFAICT)….

    • Hey MarkV,

      How is the system and AGL rates going for you?

      Im similar, but a family of 6 (2Adults, 2 teens, and 2 Primary age kids)
      High evening usage, so am very keen to hear back from you!

  18. Grace du Prie says

    In Qld (with the Solar saver 20c FIT) there were these charges:
    Peak U: 25.5 T33: 21.8 NO Solar Meter Charge (Unlike Origen 6.43 p.d); Supply Charge Peak: 0.99; Supply Charge T33 3.0. After comparing with Origen it worked out about the same. But….20 c FIT instead of 14 c.

  19. So on a AGL 20% pay on time discount but signed up to solar which will go in soon and will loose my discount

    Is solar worth it or should I cancel ?

    • you can have solar and up to 28% pay on time discount, but with a lower feed in tariff than what is discussed in this article..(figures quoted are in SE Qld)..compare your figures given by your installer and location against the offers from the electricity retailers.. I have had solar for 10 years, and at the current cheap prices of new systems, I can’t possibly see how solar is not worth it..

    • Ronald Brakels says

      Hi Tony

      You can keep your plan with the 20% pay on time discount if you wish. There’s no need to loose it. Your feed-in tariff just won’t be as high.

      Solar can definitely pay for itself if you have an unshaded roof:

      https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/solar-payback-times/

    • Laurens Bloem says

      I crunched the numbers and for me it is not really worth it going to this plan: it would save me $35,= a year.

      However, getting solar in the first place made by power bill for the year go from $2,500 to $500. So I’d say yeah, it’s worth it.

      I paid $7,250 so after that’s earned back it’s free money and a cleaner planet. Can’t argue.

      • mitchell lowe says

        are you not aware what is happening.I was in the same boat .I paid $7,000 for a 4 kilowatt system and electricity was around 25cents per kilowatt and now it is around 49 cents. and IN summer your F.I.T. DROPS DOWN FROM 15 CENT TO 10 CENTS and eventually when enough people are forced into getting solar by increasing prices then the feed in will be dropped altogether and you will not only be paying for electricity to the electricity companies what you paid 12 years ago, you will be supplying the govt with free power which they will sell to you back again as well as to other people at your expence .this is extortion like the NBN WHICH YOU ARE BLACKMAILED BY THE GOVT IN GETTING. …GET THE NBN OR WE WILL CUT OF YOUR PHONE AND INTERNET.So now we have not only lying politicians we have blackmailers and extorcionists.in govt.

        • Another uninformed post, can you get yourself educated before making such ridiculous claims? Do you know the difference between a Government FiT and what the electricity provider’s FiT is? Has nothing to do with Government although FiT in Victoria for providers is regulated but not in SA.

          • mitchell lowe says

            why don ;t you ask the energy minister.OF S.A. .He will tell you that the F.I.T. is regulated by the s.a. govt and he might tell you what the govt does with the money raised by the feed in..i had it in writing from him so if you think i do not know what i mam saying why don;t you ask him and the rest is my guessing.What do you think is going to happen .That the majority of people get solar and the govt will let you get it for free. .NO my prediction is what will happen eventually as it has already started ..SEE HOW MANY COMPANIES LOWER THE F.I.T. IN SUMMER, THE ONLY PEOPLE GETTING FREE SOLAR AND BATTERY BACK UP IS HOUSING TRUST TENANTS,, PAID FOR BY SOLAR OWNERS AND BEFORE YOU MAKE STATEMENTS that people do not know what they are talking about THEN YOU SHOULD CHECK WITH THE GOVT DEPTS AS I DID.ASK THEM . What i said is from the govt so if it is not true then .it means the govt lied, which would not surprise me. .Show me proof that i do not know what i am saying,.Ask housing trust tenants where they got there solar and battery back up u.Ask the govt who and where they get the funds to pay for tha, SOLAR HASDROPPED FROM 60 CENTS TO LOWER THAN 10CENTS. DO YOU SEE A PATTERN OVER THE YEARS .

          • Mitchell, the 60 cent FiT was Government old plans. No one can get on it now. Existing plans will expire in 202x sometime. The 10 cent plans will just be retailer FiT plans. In fact if you are on Gov FiT you can claim the Retailer FiT too.

            Why don’t you post a link to some articles or some SA government web page that backs up your claims. If it’s public knowledge then the information will be out there.

            Or how about Ronald or Finn back up or refute what you are claiming.

          • Ronald Brakels says

            Oh, I’m not going to say anything — except point out electricity prices and feed-in tariffs can be found here:

            https://www.solarquotes.com.au/energy/

            A box can be clicked on to arrange solar feed-in tariffs from highest to lowest. Ignore Origin Energy’s highest feed-in tariff. They are deceptive bastards and won’t give that to normal people.

          • I actually called Origin earlier earlier today to enquire about the SA Gov concession plan that they have in place with Origin. I don’t like the idea of Governments making deals with privately owned retailers.

            Do you think they would tell me the rates. No can’t give that information out without more information. Eventually I was quoted some figures over the phone but it turns out that it’s the Reference prices but with a 20% Discount but no mention of solar exporting. The nice lady I spoke to once she knew I had Solar suggested the “Solar Boost” plan. The new rates were set on 1st July. For me Peak would be 40.2c kW first 10kW/day, Off peak at 21.8c kW, supply charge 90.8c per day. Fit 18c per Kw. 9% discount applies to usage and supply charge. Prices are GST inclusive.

            I’ve not compared this to my current AGL plan yet. I don’t import much from the grid so not sure if the discount helps much.

          • mitchell lowe says

            i know the solar tariff started pre 2011 and it was 60 cents /klw F.I.T.and i also know electricity was around 23cents/klw from the grid.
            What is it now 9 years later
            the F.I.T. ranges from 7 cents to 18 cents and power ranges from 38 cents to 51 cents depending on discounts.
            that is a big increase for grid fed power and a great lowering of the F.I.T..and if you cannot see the future then like nostradamus i suggest that soon there will be no F.I.T. That solar owners will get there free solar {less what you paid for the system}during sunlight hours, then you will be paying either the power companies or the govt for night time use.and there will be nothing you can do about it .
            Therefore you will be paying the same for power as you did ten years ago and suppp[ying power into the grid that only benefits the govt or energy companies .Find me another reason the govt are pushing solar power and battery back up. Lets not forget that the energy companies get approximately $700,000,000 a year on supply charges alone that is without using eny electricity .that is going by the statisticc that only 20%of australians have solar which means there is 10.000,000 houses in Aust are.paying approx 70 cents /dayfor supplying a servive then the govt makes a further$70 million for G.S.T. which means you pay for the same service twice.

          • mitchell lowe says

            you may not know that the govt has regulate4d the F.I.T.to 14.3 cents except for A.G.L.. where you might geta better deal however communications with A.G.L.is almost impossible .I have stated before that the excess feed in is used by the govt.as revenue so of course they will make sure that they will steal more than they give.Electricity has gone from 12.2 cents per kilowatt in 1998 and has increased over %300 since then .I have an old bill.The same has happenned to other services like gas and water.if the govt controls these bills then why have wages. .pensions and allowances not increased at the same rate . The govt have given themselves tax cuts and pay rises this past 12 months which gives them more money in there pocket than a disabelled person gets in a year .
            that is they are over $20,000 better off than this time last year.Why would they care about what we pay for solar as long as they get more than you and like i said before ,eventually there will be no F.I.T.
            they will get all your excess and you will be paying them for what you use at night.

          • mitchell lowe says

            If the govt has nothing to do with the F.I.T. then who just regulated it ?

        • Mitchell wrote…
          “i know the solar tariff started pre 2011 and it was 60 cents /klw F.I.T.and i also know electricity was around 23cents/klw from the grid.
          What is it now 9 years later”

          So they were offering nearly 3 times the consumer import rate price. Have you done the maths? I don’t know the reason for such a high FiT but it was probably just to promote the use of Solar. Possibly the government was compensating the base load generators. It’s certainly not sustainable at that rate and possibly causing prices to be higher for others. I know some people that have 3kW systems and on that rate and are disappointed to find out they can’t add more panels and get the same deal.

          Mitchell wrote…
          “the F.I.T. ranges from 7 cents to 18 cents and power ranges from 38 cents to 51 cents depending on discounts.”

          It all means nothing unless you know all the variables and compare, this includes, Peak, Off-peak, Daily supply charge, Discounts and FiT then look beyond the Smoke and mirrors to see how it’s applied. How does a 90% discount plan on usage sound to you, bargain right? (Sssh, rate is $10 kW/hr)

          Mitchell wrote…
          “that is a big increase for grid fed power and a great lowering of the F.I.T..and if you cannot see the future then like nostradamus i suggest that soon there will be no F.I.T. That solar owners will get there free solar {less what you paid for the system}during sunlight hours, then you will be paying either the power companies or the govt for night time use.and there will be nothing you can do about it .”

          Eventually the FiT as we know it will probably come to an end. If everyone had roof top solar then obviously there won’t be much call for it. Storage is really the only solution to avoid power bills if there is no more worthwhile FiT on offer. So as Solar becomes more popular FiT will drop but as that happens batteries or other forms of storage should become cheaper over the years.

          Mitchell wrote…
          “Therefore you will be paying the same for power as you did ten years ago and suppp[ying power into the grid that only benefits the govt or energy companies .Find me another reason the govt are pushing solar power and battery back up. Lets not forget that the energy companies get approximately $700,000,000 a year on supply charges alone that is without using eny electricity .that is going by the statisticc that only 20%of australians have solar which means there is 10.000,000 houses in Aust are.paying approx 70 cents /dayfor supplying a servive then the govt makes a further$70 million for G.S.T. which means you pay for the same service twice.”

          https://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-21/chinese-investment-in-the-australian-power-grid/7766086

          The infrastructure has to be paid for so that it can be maintained but that does not go to the government. 10% GST of $700 million is $70 million and that goes to the government just like anything else you buy such as Insurance and if you are 100% off grid then you don’t pay the supply charge. Reports I see state about 9 million DWELLINGS not houses with about 30% of those being rented (so probably mostly no solar). You also need to factor in many people live in Flats and apartment blocks which would also likely mean no solar on roof top (not per person anyway)

          • Stewart,
            Ground Hog Day!

            As a wise person recently said:
            ” . . . . it is unwise to argue with a certain type of person, because they’ll drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!” :>

            But still . . . . . keep smilin’

          • Yeah, I know. I love that movie and watch it every day and it always has the same ending. Bill Murray was not allowed to move on until he did some good. 😉

          • mitchell lowe says

            can you really get of the grid.
            does battery offer a way out of bills
            i read somewhere that if you get batteries then F.I.T. is not viable .I do not know but nothing is free.
            after outlaying $12,ooo dollars for a solar and battery back up i would like to know how you are better off
            . how long is it before you replace a battery or panels or inverter and how much does the govt get from you .Initisally $1,2000 G.S.T. and a never ending financial reward.as the parts are replaced.Does power still go into the grid when the batteries are fully charged
            If it goes into the grid then who gets the benifits.
            Not you i bet.
            has anyone with battery backup better off over a period of time,,
            lCAN anyone tell me they are better off in the short term or long term
            can anyone tell me why power is going up although ther are power stations shutting down .over 2,000.000 solar owners ,there is solar farms and wind farms .yet power is still going up WHY apart from lies and greed

          • I would reply to Mitchell’s comment but when I woke up this morning “I Got You Babe” was not playing on the clock radio. It’s over now 🙂

          • mitchell lowe says

            I found an old bill and power and electricity was 12.1 cents /kilowatt in 1998
            One company now charges 51.2 cents /kilowatt 20 years later
            That is %300 percent increase in 20 years .What else has increased at the same rate.Wages?pensions?rebates?and of course tobacco products hospital parking, Fines, council rates solar rebates food.YOU PICK
            All govt increases have gone way past there average wage indexation increases of %2.3 every year for the last 20 years yet politicians wages have increased at a higher rate than the average worker
            Take the last 12 months the average worker is going to get just over $1000 tax cut yet pollys are going to get over $20,000 with 2 tax cuts and a pay rise.
            who do the cuts benefit most THE RICH.
            how much have pensions gone up ZERO
            If the economy is that good that the govt can afford to give themselves so much extra in less tax,,, then surely they can support a substantial increase in benefits to to the elderly so they can pay there electricity and gas and all bills that the govt has increased i would like someone to tell me with over 2 million solar owners ,solar farms wind farms ,power plants shutting down .why power keeps going up’Surely there is less fuel used in power plants as they work on demand and with all that free power from the sun and wind and shutdowns then less labor also SO why the increases other than greed

          • Ronald Brakels says

            Mitchell, at the start of 1998 the annual age pension for a single person was $9,219. At the start of this year it was $23,933.

  20. I had solar panels put on two weeks ago, with the smart meter already installed. I am in NSW. I just contacted AGL about this plan. They looked up my address and said I can choose the standard tariff if I like. Not sure why this is different to what you wrote in the article, but I’ll take it!

    • Ronald Brakels says

      Glad to hear it. It seems AGL is telling different people different things. I’ve added a footnote saying people have said it is possible to get a standard tariff.

    • mitchell lowe says

      why don;t you people understand .With 2,000,000 million solar owners .solar farms ,At least 4 power stations shutting down and wind farms WHY IS POWER STILL GOING UP. who authorises increases and why .WHO BENEFITS.other than power companies and the govt.If you think that the govt plan is not to force more people into solar then what is the reason.Remember this is only an opinion but what i stated earlier about the feed in tariff in s.a. i had it in writing from the energy minister that the govt here is responsible for the F.I.T.and that the revenue raised from the F.I.T.was being used to pay for 50.000 housing trust tenants free solar and battery back up WHY IS HOUSING TRUST TENANTS GET FREE SOLAR AND BATTERY BACKUP INSTEAD OF USING THAT FEED IN FOR A BETTER REASON LIKE INCREASING AGED PENSIONERS AND DISABLED PENSIONS THEY ARE PENSIONERS TOO AND HAVE NOT HAD A DECENT RISE SINCE MOSES PARTED THE RED SEA..Tell me why electricity and gas has not gone down .with all that solar power in the system surely power stations will be using less fuel and due to shutdowns less manpower.there fore it should be cheaper and the govt is responsible for rates.WHY DO YOU THINK THE GOVT IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CURRENT FEES AND RATES.WHY IS IT IN SUMMER I PAY MORE FOR GAS FOR SUPPLY CHARGES THAN THE AMMOUNT OF GAS I USE .IF IT IS NOT FOR GOVT THEN WHO GETS THE SUPPLY CHARGES IF I DO NOT USE THE GAS, WHY DO I PAY A SUPPLY CHARGE WHICH IS THE SERVICE THEY SUPPLY AND GAIN I PAY A 10%g.s.t. so i pay a supply charge twice.i may be wrong about some of the things i say but i believe i am fright but these are opinions and if you want to check it out send messages to the appropriate ministers and see if you can prove me wrong…I know what i read.and as far as the F.I.T. goes see if they govt will deny what i say. Tell me how many power companies lowered the F.I.T. last summer and raised it in april..Watch what happens this summer

      • mitchell if you use some paragraphs to break up your long sentences it would be far easier to read and comprehend what you trying to say. and fix your Caps lock key while you are at it.

        If you are referring to Hosing trust tenants and/or others that use the scheme offered by the SA government then it may be part of the conditions and you get a cheaper rate of power. I don’t know how it works exactly and I have no interest as I own mine outright and certainly not interested in batteries.

        How about posting part of the letter with names/addresses, etc. removed so we can all see what the Minister sent to you?

        • mitchell lowe says

          Sorry about my english but you are missing the point.
          The caps lock was left on on purpose to emphesize points.
          The housing trust tenants are getting the solar and battery back up at solar owners expence .If the govt can give there pensioners discounts with free power why can they not give discounts to every one.
          I am a pensioner and i do not think my buying a solar system should be utilised for other pensioners . i think the excess feed in should be used for every one by lowering rates. The housing trust tenants get more benefits than non tenants as is.They do not pay council rates ,$2,000 a year, I do ,.They do not pay the emergency services levy .I do. why should they get more than the elderly or disabled people.All people should get the same benefits.
          Can you tell me why rates are still going up with over 2,000,000 houses with solar ..Huge solar farms and wind farms and power stations shutting down
          I no longer have the letter from s.a.minister the HON VAN HOLST PELLEKAN but you could send an email to him to see if i am lying .WHAT I AM SAYING IS TRUE . YOU FIND OUT DIFFERENT.

          • How are Housing trust tenants getting solar at the expense of others that purchased their own solar system?

            You mention Excess feed-in so I guess you must be talking about Solar + Battery system once battery is fully charged? So if you own that you have power for night time use and get some back in FiT because it belongs to you and you sell the excess back to the grid. If you are talking about the Gov scheme then it works differently and I’m not going to talk about that.

            But why should when I invest $7,000 on a Solar system I give away my rights for my FiT? I’m a Micro power generator and I want to be paid for what I produce, I paid for the Micro Power Station. I’m hardly going to give my exported power to a retailer without being paid for it so that they can then charge other users for it at my expense. Do you think the electricity retailers give their power away for free?

            Rates go up because they will charge what the consumer market is prepared to outlay, throw in Government in-action and the whole convoluted process of it all. No one seems to know how it all works and that’s the way they like it.

          • mitchell lowe says

            according to the energy minister the feed in tariff in s.a. is governed by the govt.The F.I.T. irregaurdless whether it is 10 cent 15 cents the difference between the F.I.T. and the actual electricity prices are sold off and the money that generates pays for the housing trust tenants free solar and battery back up
            i am predicting that like the nbn, people will be forced to seek solar power as the price of electricity increases which beneifits who the most. Do not forget you were blackmailed into getting the NBN {get NBN or we will cut off your phone and the internet }and now they have control of everyones internet and house phone and eventually you will get no F.I T..
            We will eventually be paying for electricity as well as replacing solar systems when they break down and the only people who benifit will be the govt and power companies.Remember these are only my thoughts and i may be wrong but i doubt it.

          • mitchell,

            Find your letter from the Minister or ask them to send you a copy.

            Blackmailed? You simply replace your phone using the NBN connection. The NBN connection and Modem for it is part of it and is (warning caps lock) FREE, FREE, FREE. There is a connector just for phones on the NBN modem, be that firbe or back to the node in the street. You can still use your same land based phone.

            You will end up with clearer phone calls and just pick the plan that suits you just like you did for your copper connection. Your current provider I’m sure will only be too happy to arrange it.

            Personally I don’t use a home line. I use a VOIP connection and pay 10c to any home line in Australia and they are not timed. The sound quality is better. I don’t have an incoming number for it. I only pay for what calls I make, no account fees! The VOIP was hopeless under ADSL2+ for me because of the poor quality of the copper lines and run length back to the exchange. If you really want to save money then use WhatsApp on your mobile phone over WiFi if others you know have it too.

            You need to move with the times Mitchell, I think even Ronald uses a car now to get about and keeps his horse in the stable now.

        • Stewart,
          A word to the wise (and an old adage): it is unwise to argue with a certain type of person, because they’ll drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!
          And everybody: remember to keep smilin’ :>

          • You are quite correct Greg, certain type of person has much more confused experience than I do 😉

            Sometimes I just can’t help myself and feell I have to reply if I believe they are genuine and not Trolling but rather confused or misinformed in an attempt to help them.

          • mitchell lowe says

            you have a lot to say but no answers .Are you a politician or just a know it all..
            I know how the nbn works and people have been doing fine with the old phones as long as i can remember.
            The modem is not free for starters .Mine cost$150
            my internet went from $25/month to$69 plus i have to pay for my mobile phone which used to be $5/month and as my server did not do nbn i had to change plans to a plan which cost 3 times as much
            I was forced into getting nbn or my house phone would be shut off.,and my internet cut off.If that is not black mail then what is it.
            MY reasoning for nbn is eventually you will have to pay for your TVchannels and you need a wireless modem to do this .
            Another way to take what little pension the elderly receive BY THE WAY EVERYONE WAS TOLD TO HAVE THE NBN BY NOW which was supposed to be fibre optics {another lie} as it was cutting every one off in June yet Hello not every one has it and i could have stayed where i was if not for the lies.. By the way did anyone of you people with all your talk and knowledge ask the energy minister in S.A.what happens to the solar revenue and who sets the F.I.T. in S.A.
            Did anyone ask where the money for 50,000 free solar and battery back ups come from for housing trust tenants .look it up and become informed then you might change your mind and listen to a different tune
            what are you trying to say about the pension in 1998 where it was $9,000 approx and going by the rate electricity has gone up it should now be $37.000 do not forget that power has gone up %300 plus $350 supply charge plus G.S.T. has your wages increased at the same rate
            I doubt it. . ,Try doing some investigation work and contact the appropriate people and become informed.youself.

      • mitchell lowe says

        yes the pension was what you said and i believe that %300 percent increase is around 37,000 ,i am a pensioner and i am on $18,200 big difference Tell me how much difference is that, .Does it seem a big jump from $18,200 to$37,000 Does it look like %100 not %300 percent

        What are you trying to say.
        how much has allowances gone up n in 20 years .Definately not %300 percent as well.
        Look up politiicians pay rises since 1998 ans tell me how much better off they are and tell me who is gotten the highest rise.and lets not forget the tax cuts and the pay rise the pollys got last year alone was more than my pension alone yet pensioners got less than%1 Name any govt charge which has not gone up and by less than that

  21. I’ve signed up to AGL’s solar savers plan today (subject to 10 day cooling off period). I’m in Vic and I’m staying on a flat rate (rather than time of day) plan – that didn’t seem to be an issue. We have a remotely-read smart meter and 9kw peak (panels) solar. They tell me I can change plans if I want within the 24 month period – so presumably before next winter I can go to a plan with lower FIT and import rates if I want. Origin used to let me do that, but bizarrely on the Origin website it now tells me I don’t have solar panels (despite FIT being on my estimated bill & previous bills). We ran into Origin – distributor communication problems a couple of times. Hopefully AGL will be better…

  22. Laurens Bloem says

    Well, I’m in Adelaide and crunched the numbers. The tariffs are the same as my current PowerDirect plan, except for the feed in tariff which is 16.8 currently.
    I do however have a 14% prompt payment discount for the full usage.

    Adding it all up, over the first year of having solar panels (7kW panels with 6kW inverter), AGL would have saved me $35,= (what they give me more for my surplus solar they almost take by not giving me a discount).

    Call me rich, lazy or both but I’m not going through the hassle of changing plans for a movie ticket a year.

    Still really good information, keep it coming!

    • Laurens,
      And interestingly, PowerDirect is a wholly-owned subsidiary of AGL!

      • And just noticed: in ProductReview.com.au, of 166 reviews, a remarkable 155 reviews (93%) rate PowerDirect as “Terrible”.
        (Then again, with AGL, of 1,152 reviews, 984 (85%) rate the company as “Terrible”.)

        It would seem the guiding hand of AGL is well and truly present in the DNA of PowerDirect, with the latter managing to “outperform” the parent in what is an already commendable level customer (dis)satisfaction. :>

  23. Grace du Prie says

    Just wanted to let you know that I cancelled my contract with AGL. (Was still in the cooling off period). Firstly; the guy that signed me up did not get my email address right so I had to call yesterday to get the information. The contract with charges was a bit hidden in the email but when I found it I noticed that the guy who signed my up also lied to me. I asked at least two or three times about the Solar Meter Charge and was told there was none. On my contract it WAS there and higher than with Origin. There was also another charge that had not been mentioned. All together, they lost my trust and I cancelled. Origin was much more professional in their approach when sending me the information etc. And it was all correct. So I’ve asked them if they have a better offer in order to keep me when my contract finishes in Sept. Otherwise Click have also offered a deal that is not too bad.

    • What is this Solar Meter Charge about? No such thing on my AGL Solar plan.

      Also what is the “another charge that had not been mentioned” ? which you also have not mentioned on this forum.

      • What amazes me is I can’t find anywhere on AGL’s Energy Price Fact Sheets about the “Solar Meter Charge” but there definitely is one. It’s 7.7c a day I believe. Check your bill, I bet it’s on there.

        I don’t know how they’re allowed to charge it without disclosing it within the plan though, as not all Energy Providers charge it.

        • I have a PowerSA meter that was installed same day as my Solar system was. This was before the new rules came into being in Dec 2017 when the supplier is responsible to provide, read and maintain it.

          They won’t dare try to charge me a meter fee as I will just contact the Energy Ombudsman again. I will have my bill early in September and will check.

          The new rules on meters is TOTAL MESS. What are the actual rules around it? If you switch supplier are you required to have a different meter installed as a condition? It’s just ridiculous.

          If that charge is on your bill? If so and not in the contract you had agreed with then call them and ask to be put through to the Resolution section. See what they say and if not happy mention you will contact the Ombudsman to sort it out. 7.7c/day works out to be about $28 a year.

          Agent Stewart signing off.

        • On the AGL fact sheet I have in front of me, there is this:
          Other fee
          Annual – $28.11
          Solar Metering Service Charge is a daily charge of $ 0.077 (GST inclusive) and may apply if you have a solar PV system and a solar meter.

          • I see it there now, I wish I saved a copy of the Fact Sheet two months ago when I switched to this plan because I am certain it wasn’t listed on there then (I specifically looked through it to find information regarding “Solar Meter Charge” and there definitely wasn’t anything), but they have since updated it and I can no longer access the other one.

            Either way, yes it is there and it is 7.7c inc GST per day. Any little thing they can charge for *rolleyes*

          • Ok, so it’s actually a “Solar Metering Service Charge” rather than a “Solar Meter Charge”. That’s making more sense now with the “Servicing” word included.

            So AGL are slapping a charge on for reading and maintaining the meters if it’s one of theirs.

            Is this actually legal? Does anyone know what the Law states with the meters and who pays for the servicing.

          • I actually just found a copy of the AGL Fact Sheet I signed up too. It does mention Solar Metering Charge but says:

            “The daily supply charge displayed on this fact sheet includes your metering charges, which will appear separately on your AGL electricity bill.”

            The Daily Supply Charge listed is $1.10 inc GST.

            The newest AGL Fact Sheet states:

            “Annual – $28.11 – Solar Metering Service Charge is a daily charge of $ 0.077 (GST inclusive) and may apply if you have a solar PV system and a solar meter.”

            and their daily rate is $1.0890 inc GST.

            So essentially, does that mean my Solar Metering Charge is 1.1c per day?

  24. Grace du Prie says

    Your Market Contract has no fixed term and includes variable rates, which can change at any time with notice to you.
    Electricity usage Unit GST excl. GST incl.
    T11 General Usage 1c/kWh 25.50 28.050
    T33 controlled load 2c/kWh 21.80 23.980
    *CL33 supply charge c/day 3.00 3.300
    Feed-in tariff 3c/kWh 20.00
    Feed-in tariff c/kWh 20.00
    Solar metering charge c/day 7.00 7.700
    *Solar metering charge c/day 7.00 7.700
    Supply charge c/day 99.00 108.900

    This is a copy and paste from my AGL plan summary. I put an asterix in front of the charges I asked about and was told they were not there but then when the plan details were emailed they suddenly were there anyway. Also, the somehow doubled some things in this info (like FIT/and SMC) All this did not make me feel confident about their way of working.

    • Ronald Brakels says

      I think all Australians who have to put up with electricity retailing are justified in not feeling confident about how electricity retailers work. It would help if electricity plans were simple and easy to understand. But this sort of thing is common among retailers.

      • Grace du Prie says

        I had two guys from Alinta at my door and compared the Origin and AGL plans (see above) with them and gave them a sale. They were still cheaper than the others (keeping in mind the difference in FIT. But it’s hard work!

  25. Just swapped my “custom” Savers plan with AGL over the to Solar Savers plan. The Daily Supply Charge is a fraction less, the Usage charge is a tiny fraction less, I don’t get the pay on time discount any more and even adding on the option to plant trees to offset my actual grid usage, I still come out ~$271/year better off.

    The original fact sheet I had from AGL also gave the option of using Tariff 15 which would have bumped our saving up to $583/year but that option was a mystery to AGL staff when I rang them and despite telling me they would follow up, I’ve heard nothing more.

    • Tariff 15 is what brought me here – I have been trying to work out what exactly “Demand Charges” and Tariff 15 actually are.. Still haven’t quite worked it out yet though.

      • Basically, if you stay under 10MWh/year, you get the cheaper rate. If you go over 10MWh/year, you pay the “demand” rate which is higher than the standard rate. Most households would be under 10MWh, especially if you have solar. The AGL consultant I spoke with suggested that over 10MWh is mainly commercial properties.

  26. There has been some discussion, above, re AGL’s “Solar Meter Charge”
    Mystery resolved. Following is screendump from chat with AGL.

    Welcome to AGL Energy, this is Chris. How can I help?

    Greg
    at 11:31, Aug 24:
    Hi Chris. Does AGL charge a “Solar Metering Charge with its 2c Solar Savers Plan, please?
    Greg
    at 11:32, Aug 24:
    Correction: 20c

    Chris
    at 11
    There is no solar metering charge with this plan, Greg.

    Greg
    at 11:34, Aug 24:
    OK. Thanks. Were you aware on the Solar Quotes Blog this is being discussed. “What amazes me is I can’t find anywhere on AGL’s Energy Price Fact Sheets about the “Solar Meter Charge” but there definitely is one. It’s 7.7c a day I believe. Check your bill, I bet it’s on there. I don’t know how they’re allowed to charge it without disclosing it within the plan though, as not all Energy Providers charge it. . . . . . . . . Do you know where the confusion is, please?

    Greg
    at 11:36, Aug 24:
    ??

    Chris
    at 11:39, Aug 24:
    Just to let you know Greg that the sola rmetering charge would actually depend upon the meter configuration. Yes, the solar metering charge is 7.7 c/day. If the charge gets applied, it would certainly reflect on the bill.

    Greg
    at 11:40, Aug 24:
    But you just said “There is no solar metering charge with this plan, Greg”. So what is the story, pls? What do you mean about being dependent “upon the meter configuration”?

    Chris
    at 11:43, Aug 24:
    If the meter configuration is a bit sophisticated, the solar metering charge is going to get applied. Please allow me 2-3 minutes so that I can get this clarified for you.

    Chris
    at 11:48, Aug 24:
    Thanks a lot for your patience, Greg. I am sorry for the delay.

    Chris
    at 11:49, Aug 24:
    Just to let you know, the solar metering charge is applicable in case of customers who are in Queensland, only.

    Chris
    at 11:56, Aug 24:
    I haven’t heard from you for a while. Are you still there?

    Greg
    at 11:57, Aug 24:
    OK Chris. that clarifies that, thanks. But If I was in Qld I wouldn’t be a happy traveler if this wasn’t clearly highlighted to me up front. (i.e. “These are the figures, but we (AGL) are going to hit you for the equivalent of 35kWh of feed-in, on a plan where we (AGL) are highlighting our high level of FIT.) Not a good look, mate.

    Chris
    at 12:00, Aug 24:
    I completely understand that, Greg. However, this is how, the solar maters have been designed at this point of time.

    Chris
    at 12:03, Aug 24:
    Except for Queensland, the solar metering charge is not applicable for any other state.

    Greg
    at 12:07, Aug 24:
    Poor old solar meters :> Don’t want to drag this on any further, but it would seem that you are saying there is nobody in AGL’s IT Department who could have bills amended to refund, say, 7.7c per day? AGL shouldn’t be blaming “sophisticated meters”, but rather having a good look at itself by giving the impression it is happy to gouge the equivalent of 35kWh feed-in (from the unwary (in Queensland, anyway). But thanks for the info, mate.

    So, in summary, it would seem the answer to the “Solar Metering Charge” mystery is that Queensland smart meters are just too sophisticated for their own good. :>

    Now Ronald, presumably you are so embarrassed with your comment above “I think all Australians who have to put up with electricity retailing are justified in not feeling confident about how electricity retailers work” that you will be writing to AGL, issuing a grovelling apology, begging them for their forgiveness for your cynicism . . . . . . . . or maybe not??

    • Ronald,
      What has happened to the middle of my comment, above, please?

      I did actually lodge a comment that was (at least vaguely) intelligible.

      Thanks.

      • Ronald Brakels says

        I’ve had a look and I can’t see an original comment different from the one above, so I’m afraid I don’t know what happened. I would guess some kind of glitch has occurred and I hope it doesn’t happen again.

      • Ronald Brakels says

        Hello Greg

        We received your email, which was sent to me, and I have replaced your truncated comment with the complete comment. I can now see what the problem was. There were closed angular brackets that snipped out the whole middle section. Sorry about that.

  27. OK Ronald, not sure why the tardiness in rectifying my butchered comment above, even though it hopefully clarified the mystery surrounding the AGL 7.7c “Solar Meter Charge”.

    AGL’s response to my on-line query (which I thought would be the easiest means of sorting out the conjecture) was (summarised):

    AGL: “There is no solar metering charge with this (20c Solar Savers) plan.

    ME: “Well why are some people saying there is?”

    AGL: “Just to let you know Greg that the sola rmetering charge would actually depend upon the meter configuration. Yes, the solar metering charge is 7.7 c/day. If the charge gets applied, it would certainly reflect on the bill.”

    ME: “What do you mean about being dependent “upon the meter configuration””?

    AGL: “If the meter configuration is a bit sophisticated, the solar metering charge is going to get applied”.

    ME (summarised): Whaaaaat!

    AGL: “Just to let you know, the solar metering charge is applicable in case of customers who are in Queensland, only.”

    ME (summarised): What the hell is a “sophisticated meter”, then?

    AGL: “. . . . this is how, the solar maters have been designed at this point of time.”

    ME (summarised): Whaaaaat?

    So, according to AGL, it would appear the 7.7c per day Solar Metering Charge is applicable in Queensland only (apparently not because of any deliberate intent by AGL to claw back the equivalent of 35kWh of FIT, but rather because those darned electricity meters in Queensland are just too “sophisticated”.

    So now we know!

    • Thanks for posting it again Greg. I wondered what had happened!
      The blog forum seems to have lots of issues. Now when i post I don’t see “Your comment is waiting for moderation” like it did before. It just takes me back to top of the page, so I edit post thinking it’s some issue including URLs in the post and eventually it states “Slow down”.

      Anyway seems the AGL help desk are in training to be politicians as very difficult to get sensible straight answers to question put to them.

      Sophisticated meter = Just an excuse to rip off more money from customers.

  28. Referring to an earlier thread of thought in this column….
    I asked Powershop what the difference would be between standard and time of day tariff structure and the very nice lady said she would do all the sums for me from my last 12 months of data. She got back the next day and came up with (from memory) 35c/month or about $4 per year in favor of staying on time of use tariff. I export about 3 times that which I buy in…with about a 10Kw system total.

    SOooo it is not a no brainer that standard is better than TOU. And AGL also confirmed that TOU metering was available for the 20c Solar Plan. A quick calc. showed I would save ~$800/year, but my Powershop supply is 100% green and I don’t trust AGL’s “we will plant some trees for you”. Green energy from Origin (aka fracking kings) and AGL is a bit of an oxymoron

  29. If you live in the NSW area around the ACT you are serviced by ACTewAGL not AGL and they don’t offer the 20c solar plan, only 8c so anyone in that area are better off with powershop…and 100% green

  30. Thought provoking article!

    I have a few questions that i’d like thoughts on:

    – noting that we are in (Endeavour Energy Flat rate peak and Controlled Load 1) with 2 adults and 4 kids.

    Current state: NNE 3kw system (2.8kW string inverter) Average 38-42 kWh/day inc 400L hot water tank using between 20-24kWh/day. (Built 1988)

    Future state: 1.7kW solar tile on west (afternoon) aspect. Adding 5kW of PV panels on clear North aspect for all day sun. Gas Hot water, (Building 2019) Pool connected to CL1.

    1. Would the AGL 20c feed in work for in both cases?
    2. How does Sonnen Flat compare?
    3. Are there online calculators to enter my usage data to model some of these variables.

    • Ronald Brakels says

      Hello GLO

      1. If you can get the AGL 20 cent feel in tariff it will apply to all the solar electricity your home exports.
      2. I will look into the Sonnen Flat in the future. What I’ve seen so far indicates you are better off with solar and no battery.
      3. There is the SolarQuotes Solar Calculator:

      https://www.solarquotes.com.au/calc5/

      PVWatts site is also useful for determining how much output you are likely to see from a solar system:

      https://pvwatts.nrel.gov/

  31. David Cornish says

    Have you guys had any information on the company called Solar Warehouse Australia who operate from Holden Hill in Adelaide? I have a quote from them for ….a 5.4kw system using18 300w panels coupled to a 5kw Solaredge inverter for $6,300…They seem like a good reputable company….just need some reassurance about their reputation and whether this seems like a fair price before signing on the dotted line

    • Ronald Brakels says

      Hi David

      A 5.4 kilowatt system for $6,300 comes to $1.17 a watt. I don’t know what kind of panels you are getting but for a system with a SolarEdge inverter that seems to be a reasonable price as they are a premium brand with a 12 year warranty which is the longest for any inverter I am aware of.

      Solar Warehouse has good reviews on our review page here:

      https://www.solarquotes.com.au/installer-review/solar-warehouse/

      If you want to see what else is available you can get more quotes.

  32. Interesting article. I currently have a 1.5 kw system and am on a relatively low FIT of 8 or 9 c pkwh but I have a pay on time discount of 32%.

    I have a quote from a reputable local installer to put another system on 5.4 kw their one panels and optimised inverter for around 6 and a half thousand. That would take me to a 6.9kw combined system.

    Is it worth getting the new system and going with the solar savers or should I just stay with the large discount?

    • Ronald Brakels says

      Provided the installer does good work and the panels and inverter aren’t rubbish, then a larger solar system can definitely pay for itself — provided it’s not significantly shaded. This can still be the case even if you decide to stick with your current feed-in tariff and discount although usually it would make sense to get a higher one. I presume you have 3 phase power which generally means you should be free to install as large a solar system as will easily fit on your roof.

  33. I’m considering Origin’s 20c/kwh feed in tariff plan. I’m leaning towards time of use charging to take advantage of off peak hot water charges for my 300 litre tank. I have a 6.6kw solar in Sydney producing 40 kwh/day in November. My last bill was $350 but had the benefit of a 1.5 kw solar system. Is that a reasonable plan?

    • Ronald Brakels says

      Hi Joseph

      I’m afraid Orign’s 20 cent feed-in tariff is only available for a limited time after purchasing a solar system from Origin. They often don’t make this clear. But AGL’s 20 cent feed-in tariff should still be available. (Maybe that’s what you meant — but it doesn’t matter.) Usually a home with a 6.6 kilowatt-hour system is better off with a standard tariff than a feed-in tariff, including hot water use. Note that you can get a controlled load for your hot water system with a standard tariff in Sydney which can be as little as 13 or so cents per kilowatt-hour but is usually higher for most plans.

      If you don’t have a smart meter you will have to get one installed to have a time-of-use tariff and in Sydney once you get one you may not be allowed to go back to having a standard tariff. So beware of that.

  34. I was considering switching to AGL Solar Savers but in SE QLD I am getting the Alinta 28% plan that offers only 11c per kW export but you pay only 18.346 per kW in (with discount). So the nett is 7.346 cents per kW Alinta vs AGL at 8.05 cents. Add a daily use charge much lower than AGL at 1.054 vs 1.089.

    So all up the Alinta plan is 0.739 cents cheaper on a kW/Daily Charge basis.

    • Which is a fair way of thinking except it depends on the circumstances.

      For me, who uses next to no electricity during the day, the 20c FIT far outweighs the discounted electricity usage amount.

      After our first 1/4 with the FIT, we are negative $88.

      • Works for me too. My system consists of a 6.48 kW Solar array and a 5kW inverter in SA and for the Spring 1/4 (Sep-Oct-Nov) and the AGL “Solar Savers” plan of 20c FiT I have a credit of $128.55 for that 1/4 alone.

  35. Hi there and thank you for this post! It is great. At the start of my last billing cycle I changed to the solar savers. I have a 5 kw system. Over the last 12 months my electricity bills have gone from over $450 per quarter and the last 2 bills I received were $39 which is less than the standing charge for the 3 months!

    The last bill was $130, this was running the air con every day through summer and considering my standing charge is approx 84 cents per day the usage is now next to nothing.

    I am so happy with the solar that I am installing another 5kw at the end of the month and hopefully I will never see another electricity or gas bill again.

    Not seeing one is a lie but I will have to pay my gas bill but I should receive the solar credits at the end of the year as a lump sum payment which is the part I didn’t like reading about as they only pay you back once per year!

    Most people just gauge on what they export but don’t consider what they use.

    On a monthly basis I have an xl spread sheet which I enter my normal electricity meter reading, solar export reading and solar produced from my solar wifi app.

    With this I can multiply my exported solar values by 0.20c to get the monthly total as well as work out the difference between produced solar and exported solar to get the value of what I used. I then multiply the used value by my normal electricity rate of 0.29c as this is how much I would have paid for the electricity if I bought it without having solar.

    With all of this I can work out exactly when my return on investment is paid back.

    Sorry for the rant from the solar lover!

    • I also use a spreadsheet to see what my bill will be for each 1/4. I have a very sophisticated detection method to alert me when the meter has been read which is a small piece of cardboard wedged in the box door corner which falls down on opening (007 style). This is my 2nd 1/4 on this plan and the Summer export was just over $300 and I would normally be paying around $400 per bill without solar. So it has saved me around $700 this 1/4. Won’t be long before it pays for itself.

      System is in SA and is 6.48 kW of PV, I have an off-peak hot water service that runs at night. No gas supply.

      You can call AGL or use their chat service to request a refund of credit, I find chat much easier as it avoids the front line help desk and you will have a transcript at the end of it, request a refund of all or part of it your credit into a bank account and it normally happens within a couple of days for me.

  36. brian crooks says

    I recently joined DC power which pays a 15c F.I.T and my 10 kw system generates up to 70kwh per day sept/dec and around 45/60kwh the rest of the year so dont get any bills, get credits around avg $120 a month, system supplies home use during the day and we pay for what we use after dark and as retirees we use a lot of our power during the day and run a roof air evaporitive cooling system for about 5 months of the year on a 24hr x7 day weekly cycle total use charged is only about 9 kwh a day and we exported 1164kw =$174.60c to the grid at 15c for the month of april so solar is a very good investment for us and is our second home with same system fitted from same company, last home under the old 60c feed in gave us $13,000/$14,000.P/A returns , system cost $14,000 to install then and paid for itself in first year, current system was $9,100 when installed in dec 2015 and has probably also paid for itself by now as well from not having any power bills over the 3 year period since installation , any body without solar is silly but a 10 kw system is the best and not much dearer than a smaller one

  37. AGL no longer offers 20c for Victoria, not even 18c feed-in from my conversation with their reps.
    Amaysim’s 20c tariff is also gone and it is now 18c only.
    Most of the rates have gone up substantially since 1-Jul-19, probably worth updating the tariff comparison tool.

  38. Hi

    Checked with AGL – they’re offering 15c with 28.369 c/kWh for first 4800kWh, supply charge 90.200 c/day.

    Would appreciate if you could update the comparison

  39. New offers by AGL may have a different FiT. When the post was originally made the FiT was 20c and locked in for 24 Months if I recall. (I’m on it)

    As far as the other rates are concerned it depends on where you live and possibly what meter is in use and are variable.

  40. Matt Wright says

    AGL won’t do any better than $0.142 in SA as of the first of July 2019, changed without notice from $0.163

    • If you were not locked in then a variable FiT rate is usually the norm I guess just like the rates offered for imported usage. I locked it in at $0.200 with AGL after seeing the blog last year. I just checked my SA AGL agreement and it is for 24 months so have another 13 months or so at $0.20

      After 2 years I will look around for what suits me best and will simply switch as I have no loyalty to any provider.

      • Matt Wright says

        Update, Solar Savers in SA is back. Got $0.18 for 24 months, while not $0.20 it’s a lot better than $0.142. Happy days.

  41. Hi,
    Been on All Solar savers and got now my first term bill. To my surprise I am firstly charged for all my usage at $ 0.289/Kwh and after that they subtract my feed-in at $0.2/Kwh.

    If they would have subtracted first my feed in and after that charge the leftover usage from the grid it would have saved me $60.00 on my current bill

    Talking to AGL they said that first the power from my solar is used and after that the grid power . If this was correct then according my bill, my 6Kwh system would have generated 2211Kwh in a 90 day period. This would come to 25Kwh/day average in winter period and over that I would have had a feed-in credit of $118.00.

    Where did somebody go wrong?

  42. You pull from the grid during the day to make up for the difference in power needed.

    Example: 2000W Kettle and no other power usage. Your solar at that time is producing 1500W at that moment (varies). You pull 500W from the grid to make up the difference.

    The Feed-in is not subtracted from what you import from the grid.

  43. Hi there, the AGL solar savers plan rates have changed, but the website not yet updated. I just did a chat with AGL. In QLD, Brisbane I was just quoted, with standard meter:

    Daily supply charge: 106.70 cents/day inc GST
    General usage rates: 25.66 cents/kWh inc GST
    FIT: 15c

    The total capacity should not be over 10kW, but you get paid for “all the power going to grid”. I asked about is it 5kw limited, he said “no, however your system must not be over 10kw”. Interesting…

  44. Hi , anybody have the 20C feed in tariff contract details, is it fixed for 24 months,
    my one was 20c before and they changed after one month to 8c without informing me and i could not find my contract.

    thanks

  45. Mtchell, I have no idea what or who you are referring to. (Yes I know Greg GHD! :))

    Mitchell what state are you referring to or is it Federal? I know Vic have rules in place to set a minimum Retailer FiT. Are others doing it now too?

    Please be specific and provide links to back up you claims.

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