Victoria’s AusNet Forces New Solar Homes On Time-Of-Use Tariff For 12 Months

AusNet - solar power and time of use tariff

Power Of No Choice. AusNet are making the most of their monopoly.

Update 16th January 2020: Yesterday we were sent a screenshot of what a home owner in the Ausnet area were told by Ausnet customer support.  It states that Ausnet never allows solar homes to have a standard tariff in their area.  This is different from what they told me on the phone.  Here is the letter they sent:

The letter says the default tariff for solar households is NEE26 but they can change to another time-of-use tariff and mentions two specifically, NASN11S and NSP23.  I’ve put these three tariffs below exactly as they appear in Ausnet’s “Schedule of Network Use of System Tariffs” effective 1st January 2020:

Because that’s difficult to read, here’s a version I’ve shortened:

Looking at the NEE26 tariff it appears Ausnet is fine with a two rate tariff that that charges the same amount for peak and shoulder periods with a lower rate for off-peak periods.  This is likely to be the best tariff for solar households in the Ausnet area, but this is likely to change if a home battery is installed.

Note what you will actually have to pay depends on what plans retailers offer.  The Ausnet restrictions just limit the plans you can choose from to time-of-use tariff plans. 

 

AusNet Services — formally known as SP AusNet — is a Victorian Electricity distributor1 that covers most of Victoria east of Melbourne, along with some of Melbourne’s outer suburbs.

If you get rooftop solar panels installed, AusNet will force you to change to a time-of-use tariff regardless of your personal preference.  So I guess your freedom to choose means nothing to them.

You won’t just be stuck with this for a single, one month, billing cycle because AusNet will only let you change your tariff type once every 12 months.  While you can change your retailer or retailer electricity plan every month, you will be locked into a tariff type that may not suit you for one full year.

While Victorian time-of-use tariffs generally aren’t as bad for solar households as in other states, Victorian households are still being discriminated against for installing solar power. Solar is something that can reduce demand on the grid and lower grid costs for everyone, while people who buy electrical devices that normally only increase demand and grid costs, such as air conditioners and electric stoves, aren’t affected at all.  This is blatantly unfair.

What Is AusNet?

AusNet is a Distributed Network Service Provider (DNSP).  They take electricity from high voltage electricity lines and distribute it locally, as this graphic of theirs shows:

AusNet distribution network

In some states distributors only manage the local power lines and substations, but AusNet owns the actual poles and wires.  AusNet itself is owned 31.1% by SP Group (formally Singapore Power), 19.9% by the State Grid of China, and 49% by private investors, a number of whom may even be Australian.  You can buy shares and directly participate in this glorious capitalist enterprise yourself if you wish.  When the Chinese Communist Party controlled State Grid of China owns nearly 20% you can be certain they’re capitalicious!2

The AusNet Area

The AusNet Service area is shown here:

AusNet service area

AusNet says they serve over 713,000 consumers.  After looking at the map, I think they mean they supply electricity to over 713,000 different addresses — otherwise there would be a lot of people sitting in the dark in Eastern Victoria on account of their being a lot more electricity consumers than addresses.

AusNet And Solar Power

If you are on the main grid, AusNet will normally allow 10 kilowatts of inverter capacity per phase3, but will only allow you to export a maximum of 5 kilowatts of power per phase.   You can apply for permission to install or export more than this, but it may not be given.  There is an application fee of $171 for this and it can take up to 3 months to be approved or denied.

In rural areas electricity is often provided by Single Wire Earth Return (SWER) transmission and in these areas AusNet will generally limit solar electricity export to 3.5 kilowatts.

Solar Homes Are Often Better Off With A Standard Tariff

Most solar homes in Australia are better off on a standard tariff where they pay a flat rate for each kilowatt-hour of grid electricity used, rather than a time-of-use tariff where the cost of electricity varies according to the time of day.  I explain why in this badly written article.  But Victorian time-of-use tariffs can be an exception, because:

  • The peak period can include most of the time the sun is up, which is when solar households use little grid electricity.
  • The difference between peak and off-peak rates may only be 5.5 cents, although it can be up to 20 cents.

Because of these differences it is possible for a solar household to come out ahead with a time-of-use tariff but it will depend on individual circumstances.  If you are better off on a standard tariff, as many will be, you’re out of luck as you will have to wait 12 months for AusNet to no longer have tariff power over you.

But, once you do change your tariff, they’ll regain power and you’ll be stuck with it for another 12 months.

Time-Of-Use Tariffs That Are Really Standard Tariffs

In the past I have noticed electricity plans that are described by their retailer as being time-of-use, but which only charge a flat rate for electricity exactly like a standard tariff.  These plans could be a way to get around the requirement to have a time-of-use tariff.  I have specifically looked for them in the AusNet area and couldn’t find any, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist.  So you can ask your electricity retailer if they will give you a “time-of-use” plan with a flat rate.

Forcing New Solar Homes Onto Time-Of-Use Tariffs Is Lousy

Most Victorians already have smart meters.  They were forced into getting them years ago, possibly because some politician didn’t understand that even though they were called smart meters, they were still pretty dumb.  Or maybe it was because retailers saw a chance to charge households and businesses for something that lowered their meter reading costs.  But there’s no reason why it couldn’t have been both.

Because smart meters have already been rolled out, most Victorians have their grid electricity consumption automatically read every month, giving them a one month billing cycle.  This means they can change their electricity retailer 12 times a year if they want, but because of Ausnet’s rules they can only change the type of tariff they have once a year.  As changing the tariff type is a trivial matter that’s no more difficult than changing retailer plans, this doesn’t seem fair to me.

More ‘Flies With Honey’ Than Abuse Of Monopoly Power

If households change to a time-of-use tariff and change their electricity consumption patterns as a result, it can benefit the grid as a whole by reducing consumption when electricity demand is high.  But individual households themselves may not benefit from changing, so people are often, quite reasonably, reluctant to try.

If AusNet wants more homes on time-of-use tariffs, rather than have a privately owned company use its monopoly power to force Australian citizens to do what it wants, it should act more like a real business that actually has to put effort into keeping customers. It should use good, old-fashioned, bribery.4

There is the obvious approach of simply lowering the rates of time-of-use tariffs so more people will find them attractive.  But AusNet could also make offers to high electricity consumption households along the lines of, “We will give you a slow cooker5 and free energy monitoring equipment if you commit to using a time-of-use tariff for 12 months.”

That’s how you get people to do what you want.  You make it worth their while.  But if you use force provided to you by your monopoly status, people will just end up hating your guts.

Footnotes

  1. They are also a gas distributor but their gas network isn’t the same area.
  2. Note this is not investment advice.  This is me pointing out one of the ridiculous/wonderful features of the modern world where not even Communism will stop an authoritarian foreign nation from having the freedom to own 20% of an Australian electricity distribution monopoly that restricts freedom of tariff choice in its area.
  3. This includes both solar and battery inverter capacity.
  4. Technically, I mean price and other incentives rather than bribery.  But I don’t have to be technical all the time.  (But if you slip me a fiver I will.)
  5. Slow cookers are great to reduce the surge in demand that occurs when vast numbers of electric stoves are turned on in the evening.  Australian electricity distributors should be giving them away like France gave away free thermal mass heaters to soak up their surplus nuclear generation.
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. To clarify after 12 months you can change back to flat rate?

  2. “…though they were called smart meters, they were still pretty dumb. Or maybe it was because retailers saw a chance to charge households and businesses for something that lowered their meter reading costs. But there’s no reason why it couldn’t have been both…”

    True. Smart meters in WA markedly erode the benefits of solar power.

    Just another good reason to go off-grid, once battery systems are more affordable… and warranties for this technology are extended.

    • Hi Lessor.
      Time and again I’ve demonstarted that EVERYTHING to do with solar-power is “affordable” these days, particularly if you shop around and adhere to the KISS principle. (and perhaps make a few adjustments to your usage/applications.)

      ie. shun the $40,000 (“smart”!) battery and fall back on proven ~ and warrantied ~ L/A batteries. eg. you can get 10kWh* of storage for well under $1000 with a 3-year warranty. (The kid that supplies mine has no problems with me picking them up from his home…so I’ll know where to go should a warranty-claim become necessary.)
      “Adjustments” to usage might include installing a remote-start generator (demand-start is another option, if more expensive) in the shed to run the short-term heavy-users such as microwaves/washing-machines.

      There are umpteen such alternatives, depending on how much effort you’re willing to put in ~ and ALL of them cheap-and-getting-cheaper. Drop me a line if you want to discuss.

      • Ian Thompson says

        Hi Jackson

        You keep saying that – but when pressed you fail to come up with any details!

        So, one of your ideas is to emit CO2 copiously, when you need to run washing machines or a microwave? Great plan, Jackson…!

        Just WHERE can I get 10kWh of L/A batteries for well under $1,000 – I’m sure a lot of us would like to know. How do you dispose of the dead batteries after 3-5 years or so? Do you now understand the DOD vs life impact – previously, you demonstrated abysmal ignorance on this point.

        To go off-grid economically, you also need to buy off-grid inverters cheaply – I guess you know where to find these at $5.50 a pop!

        Jackson, why do you not put up, or shut up? You comment that you have “time and again demonstrated…” is rubbish – as you have never provided facts to support your contention.

        • Just saw the above: typical blithering bullshit.
          What it DOES demonstrate is that you’ve not read (or understood) umpteen comments I’ve made about the subjects at hand.
          However, against my better judgment about engaging with sarcastic (and usually ignorant) rsouls) I decided to respond with some facts and references you’re obviously incapable of finding for yourself online, but to do so comprehensively required more space than, I presume, would be acceptable here.
          So either a dispensation from Finn or an email address from you is called for.
          (I DO note that your claim of “abysmal ignorance” about “DOD vs life impact” is not only false (stupidly or by design), but more likely is a plagiarised comment I made about your ignorance in not understanding the difference between ‘kinetic’ and ‘potential’ energy. (or was it your moronic claim that energy could be “created” which still has Newton and Einstein spinning in their graves?)
          I’ll look forward to seeing what develops. Or doesn’t.

      • Going off grid sounds great. Until something breaks and you are on a diesel generator for at least a week.

        • What can possibly “break” that would take a week to fix???
          (eg Grey Nomads set up a solar-system in five minutes virtually every day.)

          Moreover, anyone who would EVER need to depend on a diesel generator is either wanking or too stupid to know what he’s (she’s!) about.

          One good reason for going solar in the first place is that YOU put it together and YOU make sure nothing can “break” that YOU can’t fix immediately.
          And in any case, part of any DIY set-up should always include alternative back-ups.
          eg. A modest-but-sufficient back-up generator ~ running on a bottle of lpg ~ can be built for about $25 (though prices may have risen a bit since I last put one together) which can see you through a short-term problem.

          The key is adherence to the KISS (and other applicable) principles.

        • Ian Thompson says

          Again Jackson – no detail, and an obvious willingness to continue to pollute the planet – something others of us seek to minimise.

          You just don’t get it, do you.

          BTW, your example of water in a bird bath is crap – that water DOES have potential energy – and this energy CAN be converted to kinetic energy – and that energy CAN be used to pump (some of that) water to a greater height, or to generate electrical energy, or whatever.

          Do you not understand that an unfired bullet contains potential energy (in a chemical form) – or is your self-proclaimed massive intellect not concerned with physical facts?

          • Woulda Couda Shoulda…..and IF my auntie had balls she could be ‘converted’ to being my uncle, right??
            Your tantrums do not change the reality that YOU WERE WRONG with your initial assertion re. ‘potential energy’ and you’re wrong now. (Want me to dig up your comment?)
            I reiterate: POTENTIAL ENERGY DOES NO WORK. And htas long as it remains ‘potential’ it has no value other than as a ‘concept’.
            Moreover, strictly speaking, it’s a meaningless term; there is NO realistic connexion between ‘potential’ and energy. Science Daily: “The most common definition of energy is the work that a certain force (gravitational, electromagnetic, etc) can do.” Water in a birdbath is NOT ‘a certain force’.

            NOTE:- ‘Potential’ does not and can not perform any work. And the same applies to a bullet. The question related to quote MUZZLE ENERGY unquote, which IS a “force”; not to a collection of inert chemicals.
            You might find understranding in the ancient kid’s story about ‘Stone Soup’.

          • Ian Thompson says

            Jee-sus Jackson, you are full of it – and you are trying to teach a professional engineer to “suck eggs”.

            And you accuse me of being pedantic!

            Yes, I may have been a little “loose” with my wording – thinking I was dealing with someone with half a brain (especially since you self-proclaim an IQ of 160).

            Yes, obviously I was wrong – but I’ve seen this lack of common sense before.

            Just to clear up your ignorance – the term “Potential Energy” does not imply it does work – the term is used to indicate the potential available for something to do work. A stretched spring is considered to have Potential Energy.

            And you remain incorrect – a bullet does in fact contain what is termed potential energy, in terms of available chemical energy. It is only when the bullet is fired, that the chemical potential energy is converted to gas under pressure, another form of potential energy, which then exerts a force on the round. Force x distance = energy, so Fxd = 1/2 x m x v^2 – actually, some of the energy is required to impart the kinetic energy of spin. Some of the force is “lost” (read: goes elsewhere, in case you go off at a tangent again), to accelerate the gas out of the barrel – and to overcome friction, the conversion is not 100%

            To go back to your hydraulic pump – you will not have the kinetic energy of flowing water to make your pump work, unless that water gains kinetic energy. How does it do that? Well, by the act of being accelerated by gravity – but to do that, it must first be at a higher point. In engineering terms, if you can follow, the water is deemed to have the potential to gain kinetic energy from the action of gravity acting on it from this greater altitude. To save that long winded statement, engineers simplify it by stating the water has “Potential Energy”. Doesn’t need to be long-winded like you, if everyone who needs to know, understands the concept – you seem to be having trouble with this.

            Your “work” and “energy” usage could do with a bit of understanding. When considering a piston being pushed down a bore by steam, or air pressure, or whatever, work is what you get out. But professional engineers consider this as a “closed system” – and the work out is considered positive, and the change in the status of the gas above the piston is considered changed by an amount of energy, considered in the negative. In a useful sense, this is written as Work = – Energy. Done this way, because usually engineers have to deal with a range of heat inputs, work outputs, expansion, etc.

            It’s time for you to get off the cat’s tail – you are wasting my time – I do not suffer fools gladly – I feel, unfortunately, that you are a fool.

  3. I am not sure where you have tact checked your info from, as some of this is incorrect or information missing that doesn’t support the tone of the article.
    For starters the time of use tariffs are also off peak all weekend, which a lot of people find beneficial.
    Also smart meters are read daily, not monthly, and daily reads are available for customers to keep an eye on usage.
    Also, I am not aware you can change back to a single rate tariff after a year with Ausnet, they only have one tariff available with solar and that is the TOU.

  4. DOH!……Why do you sound surprised??
    Almost since this blog was launched I’ve been warning that giving away your right to self-determination is a mug’s game.

    Blind Freddy couldn’t have avoided seeing it coming even if he’d shut his eyes and looked the other way. And there’s more to come. The taxation of sunlight is on the ….er ….horizon ~ and the ONLY solution is to go stand-alone and tell nobody. ( which includes applying for a subsidy)

    The time mis coming when technology will make even that impossible (remember having to pay a tax for TV licences, and the technology involved ??), but it won’t bother me because I’ll be off-planet by then.

    nb. I see in the paper (Victoria) this morning that an annual ‘land-tax’ of over $50,000 (sic) is common around here (and over $200,000 in the posher suburbs 20 minutes away) ~ and it isn’t even the Blackfellas that are bunging it on!
    The only thing more mind-boggling than the tax-system are the number of people who cop it sweet….(ie: where the sun don’t shine.)

  5. Ian Thompson says

    Perhaps AUSNET are trying to entice new solar subscribers to fit batteries – to allow them to “work-around” the high peak tariff costs?

    Our Synergy has just recorded a record loss – and they put that down (either directly or indirectly) at least partly to the massive uptake of rooftop PV.
    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-09-26/wa-power-retailer-synergy-posts-massive-financial-loss/11550420

    Their argument seems to fit with the statements here:
    https://www.newenergysolar.com.au/renewable-insights/renewable-energy/solar-subsidies-what-are-they-who-pays-and-what-do-they-achieve
    In particular to the need to support fixed and capital amortisation of existing fossil plants, regardless of them being force to run at low utilisation due to the prioritisation for renewables – just like SA and their Gas plant.

    I note from reviewing the NEM Supply & Demand widget over the past 2 months or so, that SA has wind capacity adequate to supply nearly 100% of that State’s demand (when the wind is blowing, although NG is kept running at around 0.3-0.4GW obviously for supply security). It also has NG generation capacity able to supply 100% of demand at all times, and rooftop and large-scale solar that can generate nearly 50% of demand during the middle of the day (except when it is overcast). That is 2.5 complete generation infrastructures, to supply 1 demand – and even then, a lot of this is producing substantial CO2 and CH4 emissions. Over the last 3 months, SA has been operating like a yo-yo between 100% gas and 85% renewables.

    So, we do need to encourage the uptake of batteries, but SA needs BIG (read seasonal) storage, and perhaps 2 or 3 times as much renewable generation than at present to allow for top-up, if it is to wean itself off using fossil fuels for grid power (more – if it wants to also deal with transport needs).

    I am all for going off-grid (probably the only thing I agree with that Jackson spruiks), but we still need economic and reliable systems, and I do not think falling back to petrol generators at home is the answer. I suspect many of us are not so flush with spare funds, or for other reasons, that we can afford going this way (e.g. high-rise residents).

    • The reason Synergy is inadvertently encouraging solar (& storage) via their back door is pretty simple.
      Paying a pathetic 7c per “unit” (i.e. KwH) exported to them means guys like me are so pi**ed off with them that we are taking three actions as time / money permits.
      1) Modifying our time of use of appliances to run on solar as much as we can – done.
      2) Upgrading our “partially shaded” 3Kw system to 10Kw (we have 3 phase) to avoid using their power – quotes happening as I write this.
      3) Installing some battery backup system when possible (85% drop in Lithium Ion prices worldwide, Oz is about 10% down – waiting, waiting…)
      Doubling their extortionate daily surcharge to $1 per day, if that does not change soon then when the battery system is cheap enough we are 90% likely to go off grid altogether. Oh, and we already have a 6.9Kw petrol backup generator anyway as we get currently outages every 4 weeks or so. Paying through the nose for a non service is getting pretty stale…

      • Ian Thompson says

        I agree – have time-shifted as much as I can – just can’t justify a battery system just yet.

        Peeves me that they take my feed-in kilowatts at 7 cents, and sell them to my neighbours at 26 cents or whatever. Good business, if you can get it…

        • hehehehehe…. Don’t you mean that they take your feed-in kiloWatt HOURS “at 7 cents and sell them to your nighbours at 26 cents or whatever”?
          I believe another term for such ignorance/stupidity is ‘shooting yourself in the foot’!

        • STILL can’t get it right I see. (despite your smug rant about kW and kWh. Just as you were wrong with the twaddle about quote Jackson, using the effect of gravity on water is nothing new – it’s called “potential energy”, and has been in use for millennia – in many forms. unquote… you DO remember the reaponse to that bit of ignorance, I presume.
          quote “In FACT, it’s called KINETIC energy. ‘Potential energy’ is when you DON’T use the effect of gravity on water. unquote.
          And while on the subject of hydraulic ram pumps, and your snide assertions:-
          I can go and get photos of the unit I built from scrap in the shed (currently about 25 years ago and STILL working) which invalidates another of your absurd/irrelevant lectures.
          YOU, on the other hand have provided not a skerrick of asked-for information about the unit you claim to have constructed in the best engineer egg-sucking style. People are particularly interested in how you built the pressure-chamber and the ‘clack-valve’. I’ll look forward to your detailed descriptions.

          • …. and ps. The question about “muzzle-energy” of a bullet has to do with ‘work’ (eg foot/pound of ENERGY) …. NOT ‘potential’ energy ~ only ONE of several elements which need to be factored into any equation which determines ME. EVERY one of those elements need to be functioning as designed before ANY energy is generated/available.
            And despite the sanctimonious ‘don’t tell me, I’m an engineer’ waffle/arithmetic, be reminded that it all depends on the powder (chemicals) being dry; otherwise they contain NO energy nor the capacity to generate ANY.
            Muzzle Energy requires NONE of those considerations. It either exists or it doesn’t.

  6. Seems this is not new from Ausnet.
    I installed my solar panels back in October 2017. I was then surprised to find my retailer (Origin) had switched me to time of use. When I questioned them they said that it was mandated by Ausnet because I had solar panels. They did not however tell me I could change it after 12 months.
    In any case I switched retailers shortly after to Pacific Hydro (now called Tango) and locked in their at the time excellent time of use rates for 2 years.
    It’s coming around to time to review and renew so I’ll be sure to check out the Flat rate option now that I know about this to see how it stacks up.

  7. I recently discovered just how badly my retailer (Origin) was screwing me by TOU tariffs after I put in solar. They were paying 12c/kWh for my generation, but charging double that even for night rate. My response? Put in my own time-switch to run hot water heating at noon. Also to run my dishwasher etc, during the day when I’d effectively be paying 12c, not 20c+ for it.

    The TOU tariffs have caused me to move load from night time to day time, from a low demand period to a high demand period. This is the exact opposite of what we were told smart meters would do.

    • hi Ben.
      Ever considered NOT using electricity for hot water? There are cheap alternatives that might cost about $200 to set up and then nothing forever after.

  8. I believe Ausgrid have required new solar customers in Sydney to be on time-of-use tariffs since 1 July 2019. I got stung by this because my system was installed just before 1 July, and my meter was upgraded after 1 July. The Energy Made Easy site says there is an AGL Solar Savers plan (20c/kWh) with a standard tariff that is compatible with solar customers with a smart meter, but I found this not to be the case. I have alerted the AER about the potentially misleading information on its site. Other electricity retailers could possibly be listing flat tariff plans for solar smart meter customers on Energy Made Easy as well.

    My advice would be to always check with your retailer before you decide to install solar as to whether you will be forced onto a time-of-use tariff, and run the numbers on how this will affect your bill with solar.

  9. Hi,
    I am in Rowville and Ausnet has put a restrition of 1.06kwh and I have installed a 6.3kw solar system. What a waist…..
    A smart meter costing $200.00 had to be installed to control the solar production.
    Can you please advise if anything can be done to stop these companies to control clean energy.
    Thank you.

  10. Hi Ben.
    People seem to forget that all such companies are there solely to make as much money as they can get away with. It’s the bais for all business.
    The only way to avoid their (change-at-will) chicanery is not to play the game they impose*.
    Go to a stand-alone solar (plus) system. I’d suggest that with a 6.3kw set-up already in place you’d be overproducing by scads! I’ve been off-grid (mostly) since about 1980 ~ and ran a house in Moe (single resident) for a decade off a 2kw system ~ averaging about 7kw per day. It’s not difficult to do
    I’m currently in Ringwood, so if you’re interested in discussing possibilities get in touch. ([email protected])

    • ps……As I’ve said in earlier posts, setting up a 10kw system (which is much more than any conservation-minded person would ever need) can be done for under $5k…. and much less for someone who already has the basics in place.

    • Ian Thompson says

      7 kW from a 2 kW system – neat trick – your self-proclaimed 160 IQ must know no bounds!

      Ah – perhaps you meant to say 7 kWh – which does seem pretty pathetic – must have been using panels that fell of the back of a truck on the way to the tip – down to 75% capacity and out of warranty?

      $5k for a 10 kW system plus batteries plus inverter plus installation unless you do it yourself? Seems a good deal – although of course, we only have your word for it, as no details are provided. Maybe it’s just BS.

  11. tsk tsk tsk.
    My IQ, though failing, can still recognise a moron with an IQ the same as his hatsize as soon as it pops up over the horizon.
    Don’t you get sick of making a fool of yourself with repeated stupid, and unfounded, comments such as “So a lady got nearly stuffed batteries for $15 each” and ” must have been using panels that fell of the back of a truck on the way to the tip”.
    The panels in question were personally selected by a long-standing installer/electrical engineer (who still runs his own successful business and appears on the SolarQuotes reference-list) who signed a personal 20-year warranty, composed by me, on a contractual basis after I queried the el-cheapo Chinese panels he intened to use.
    The panels performed perfectly for 8+ years, and occasionally surpassed the manufacturer’s stipulated rating by nearly 30%.
    In fact, I posted a comment about the brand/performance on a just-born SolarQuotes blog, in order to have them added to the list. Keep in mind that I’d been involved in solar power before some of the clever people here had been born, and had a few clues about the subject.
    One such clue ~ despite the chookie sqawking pedantic idiots like you go on with ~ was that solar-panels produce WATTS…. NOT WATT-HOURS.(says so right there on the back) And the instruments using electrical power USE Watts ~ NOT Watt-hours.
    My panels produced an average ~ over 8+ years of abour 7500 WATTS per day, summer and winter ~ and even responded to bright moonlight. (So bright you could read by it!)
    The batteries that stored those 7500 Watts didn’t care if I used them to run the TV @ ‘Watt-months’ or the welder @ ‘2200 Watt-minutes’.
    On a power-for-use basis I guess I could’ve kept YOU running for about 80 years on the same 7500 Watts! Now THAT would’ve been a waste of the uncreateable universal energy!

  12. That really depends if they already have gas, for a household like us, we are all electric so going gas just for HWS is not worth it.

  13. Swings and roundabouts, Scott. Sometimes one has to live with a previous decision (like Dopey Dora refusing to go to stand-alone system because he’d paid a motza for a grid-connect inverter.)…. But not always.
    Our choices are always our own to make, but I suggest there are options of the mix-and-match kind.
    One is to hook your current plumbing into an instant-hotwater-system run by a small (or large) gas-bottle. (a modern variation of the very-common ‘chip-heater’ of days gone by). A lot of caravanners use them: they can be set up in minutes, and bought for about $500. I’ve used such systems for decades (saves storing hot water while it’s going cold!), but would think twice these days because our ‘expert/authorities’ have decided that grown adults are too stupid to regulate their shower-temeperature and passed legislation that the hot-water produced must be restricted to a miserable 40-odd degrees. (Haven’t yet explored ways of disabling the thermostat set-up*) Older units don’t have them; you just regulate the temp. with the cold-water-tap.

    Another option ~ and one I can vouch for ~ is to get a roll (or part of, depending) of black poly-pipe for about $70 (prices can vary) and chuck it up on the roof, sealed in a (treated-pine) box with a glass top. One end connects to a garden hose, and the oher end to an olde hot-water storage-tank ~ important because they carry a pressure-relief valve in case the water gets beyond boiling. Then hook the tank to the existing HW plumbing. Even a cloudy day (Victoria) can produce water with enough heat for most tasks…. and the size of the tank you use is up to you: 60-gallon tanks used to be the norm a long time ago. There are volumes of information/opinions about how best to ‘arrange’ to coils of polypipe for the best results.

    * vis-a-vis tampering with the thermostat set-up: a few years ago (for assorted reasons) I tried to get ideas from the clever people about how to disable/bypass the mechanism in the huge/hi-tech inverters being installed with grid-connect power systems. It appears there’s some sort of grid-fed 240VAC inverter-connection switch which prevented the inverter being used off-grid. Never got much help from the aforementioned clever people (one idea was to feed the switch with a battery7 via a small inverter), so sort of lost track of the idea over time. May still be viable, though I can’t see running a massive inverter off batteries anyway. In any case, U-bewt sine-wave inverters are now freely (and cheaply) available. In such a situation I’d just write off the grid-connect inverter as the cost of doing business ~ as I would some parts of your all-electric house. Such dependence on Big Business/Governments/Weather and Civil Unrest would give me the willies. 😉

  14. Hey Finn and Ronald,

    After finally getting a response FROM Ausnet regarding the fact you can transition to flat rate after 12 months, here is there reply on the matter

    “Good afternoon,

    As per our pricing proposal, solar customers will transition onto a solar ToU ( time of use) once a solar connection is established.

    The current default solar tariff is NEE26 for residential. Solar customers can opt to transfer to another solar ToU ( time of use) tariff i.e. NASN11S or NSP23.

    This has been our position for over 10 years.

    We also do not have a rule where we allow solar customers to switch back to a single rate tariff after a 12 month period and also, we don’t have a solar single rate tariff.

    We believe the author of the article may have got confused with the 12 month rule relating to a network tariff change where once the customer have elected to switch to another tariff, the customer needs to remain on it for 12 months.

    Kind regards

    Fiona”

    So again where did you get the info that you can go back to flat after 12 months? As Ausnet are saying a different to you guys.

    • Ronald Brakels says

      Hi Scott,

      I got the information from Ausnet. But, I have to admit, I’m not hugely surprised we’ve been told different things.

      It’s the end of the day for me here in Adelaide and I am away until Friday but, provided I don’t forget, I will check with them again on Friday.

      • Any luck on following this up?

      • Hey Ronald, as per Scotts comments a follow up would be great. As it stands, Ausnet’s comments above goes against the facts in this article. Cheers

        • I have a solar system and have been advised by two retailers and by two different people at Ausnet (one by phone, one by email) that I can’t be put on a single rate tariff because I have a solar system, despite there being a single rate feed in tariff on Ausnet’s current schedule of tariffs.

          I emailed Ausnet requesting an explanation and mentioning I had also spoken to the Energy and Water Ombudsman, and they responded with the following:
          “Currently, Ausnet offer NEE11S single rate solar for SFIT and NEE11P for the premium feed in tariff. The default residential tariffs are currently TOU solar as NAST11S or NAST11P. Any retailer can opt out of the default tariffs charged to them to NEE11S or NEE11P by raising a SSW Tariff Change service order via B2B.”

          So I am not sure if it was the case previously, but at least as of 1st July 2021 if you have had your solar system for >12 months and been on the same tariff for that amount of time, Ausnet will allow you to change to a single rate tariff. Your retailer may take some persuading to make it happen.

  15. Hey Ronald,

    Thats fine, I just hate how they say one thing to someone and something else to others.

    I tried to argue about changing my tariff before the 12 months but they said no, I even pointed out they changed me and they still said no… I was only given the above 2 tariff options from my retailer a couple months ago and I even emailed them last week about your article and that was the reply above. It came through today.

  16. In NSW, I recently changed energy retailers only to find that the traditional metering practice was no longer available. We had to “accept” TOU
    Meter wise no issue as it’s a current generation meter

    This is after I had signed up to Origin’s good solar tariff deal, advertised on here

    Poles and Wires are by Essential Energy, who really need to invest some money into their infra structure as we often see 257 VAC, not the 230 VAC

  17. have been told by aus net that I will have my power cut off, if I do not get my panels checked. as I am a 78 year old pensioner, and in lock down I cannot have some one coming too my home and do not have the money .

    • Ronald Brakels says

      Hello John

      I don’t know what the law says they can do, but I hope Ausnet can’t force you to have someone to inspect your solar system during a pandemic by threatening to cut your power off. You can be required to have your solar system inspected every 5 years, but putting that off for a month isn’t going to cause Ausgrid any real harm.

      If you or anyone else in the household has a CPAP machine or other electrical medical devices, you can register with Ausnet that you have life support equipment and they will not be permitted to cut your power off. The Ausnet page on this is here:

      https://www.ausnetservices.com.au/Residential/Electricity/Safety/Life-Support-Customers

      If you want to, you can contact Ausgrid and tell them that you can shut your solar system off, but you can’t afford to have the system inspected. If they don’t find that acceptable and still threaten to cut your power off, then I don’t consider that fair and I will gladly do whatever I can to help you get this resolved in a reasonable way.

      I will send you an email, so keep an eye out for that.

    • Hi John,

      They wont disconnect you, here the link Ausnet sent everyone via text.

      https://www.ausnetservices.com.au/-/media/Files/AusNet/solar-responsibilities.ashx?la=en

  18. Going back to the original topic of the article above, I’m in AusNet area and installed solar in November 2018, switched to Origin in January 2019 to take advantage of a 22c FiT (no longer available after 1 year) and recently changed to another provider. On that provider’s rates I would be better off on a 3-rate ToU tariff (Peak, Shoulder, Off-Peak). Requested the provider to submit a request to AusNet to change my meter from 2-rate to 3-rate – this was in March 2020, nearly 18 months from installation of solar and forced conversion to ToU 2-rate tariff as mentioned in the article. AusNet’s response: “We will only make the change to 3-rate if you disconnect your solar from the grid”. In other words – no FiT for excess solar that I could export from my 6.5 Kw system!!! You’d think they’d want every KwH hour they could get into the grid, when they only pay about 10c for it and re-sell it for 100% more than that!! This sucks!!

  19. Yep, I wasn’t allowed on that one either.. i ended switching to the seasonal ToU NSP23. Not many retailers offer it though.

  20. Just wondering if anyone has gone through an official complaint process in regards to Ausnet’s mandatory TOU tarrif? It’s pretty disgusting that they penalise you for making electricity which they pay peanuts for.

  21. Matthew Bouwmeester says

    Hi in August 2020 I got a 3kw system in Seymour Victoria. I use Origin with (peak and off peak) But during the peak 33cents I use my solar so very little usage. so I even out with dollars v kW/h Igenerate 20 kw a day max and 6 kw on cloudy day . Usually I get 2 bad day every 2 weeks. Now why Ami having my hot water on at night. I just read that it should be during the day. Thank God I have a smart metre and was intelligent enough to work it out my self. When I change the hit water timer to midday I will knock off 4kw at night to 0 to 1 day time with solar…Hay you dick heads vote Greens and you will get Scandinavian Governing for intellectual people like me
    “Clog Wog” not shareholders scabs.

  22. Well we can finally put this to rest 🙂 come 1st July Ausnet customers are officially allowed to opt out of ToU and go on single rate.

    Page 19-6

    https://www.aer.gov.au/system/files/AER%20-%20Final%20decision%20-%20AusNet%20Services%20distribution%20determination%202021%E2%80%9326%20-%20Attachment%2019%20-%20Tariff%20structure%20statement%20-%20April%202021.pdf

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