Temporary Electricity Bill Relief For Western Australians

WA electricity bill credit

Western Australia’s McGowan Government announced yesterday it is providing every household in the state a one-off $600 credit on their residential electricity bills.

Around 1.1 million Synergy and Horizon Power customers will benefit from the credit.

So, where has this money come from? The credit has been funded from the recent Bell Group settlement for losses incurred in the Bell Group collapse in the early 1990s.

What Was Bell Group?

The Bell Group of companies was the corporate vehicle of Robert Holmes a Court that was taken over by Alan Bond’s Bond Corporation in 1988.¬† The WA Government also had a significant stake in the company. Bell Group was then pillaged by Bond to prop up the ailing Bond Corp and Bell Group collapsed in April 1991.

This was followed by a legal saga that would take nearly 30 years to resolve. It was only in August this year the Supreme Court of Western Australia approved the final distribution of funds to Bell Group creditors – including the WA Government. You can read more about it here.

“It’s only right that the Bell Group settlement funds go straight back to Western Australians,” said WA Premier Mark McGowan. “It’s even more important now, as we continue on our State’s recovery from COVID-19.”

What’s been called the WA Household Electricity Credit will be issued from November 1, 2020. The Premier says while a portion of this will be saved by households, the majority is expected to be spent in WA’s local economy.

Spend The Savings On Solar

The credit is a sugar-hit; albeit a welcome one as WA folks have been doing it tough on the electricity cost front for some years. But as big power bills will continue once the credit is gone, perhaps putting the money saved towards a solar power system would be a wise move.

It’s interesting the credit is being issued instead of helping to pay off the huge amount of debt Western Australia’s government-owned electricity sector has acquired, mostly from subsidising fossil fuel based generation – one of the factors contributing to electricity price hikes in recent years. But the Government has found another way – by recently slashing the state’s feed-in tariff for new solar installations.

So, is installing solar in Perth a good investment given the recent reduction in feed-in tariffs in Western Australia? The short answer is yes. For the long answer, stay tuned as SQ’s Ronald will soon publish a detailed analysis (Update: here it is).

You can also use the SolarQuotes solar calculator to help determine if installing panels makes financial sense for you (just remember to adjust the feed in tariff rate).

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

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