Is Your Electricity Retailer Ripping You Off On Solar Feed-In Tariffs?

pick pocket

I’m getting reports that some electricity retailers are refusing to honour the full feed-in-tariff. In my opinion, that is theft.

Let Me Know If Your Electricity Retailer Is Cheating You Out Of Your Solar Feed-In Tariff…

I received an email on the week-end from someone who wanted help understanding how their electricity retailer, Red Energy1, worked out their bill.  Because I am kind of slack, I only got around to calling Red Energy yesterday, but the person I talked to was able to give me some good news — if Red Energy is your retailer, then no matter how much solar electricity you send into the grid, you will receive every cent of solar feed-in tariff you are entitled to.  If your total solar feed-in tariff payment is greater than your electricity bill you will receive a credit that will reduce future electricity bills or you can apply to have that money refunded to you2.

Retailers May Not Pay All The Solar Feed-In Tariff Earned

Now you may be thinking to yourself:

“What’s so great about this?  Surely every electricity retailer works this way?”

Unfortunately, I have been told not every retailer is so honest and there are some that weasel their way out of paying all the solar feed-in tariff a household has earned.  Apparently there are some that will refuse to pay a credit if the amount of solar feed-in tariff earned exceeds the electricity bill.  An even worse practice I have heard of is only allowing the feed-in tariff to reduce the kilowatt-hour charges for grid electricity and not allowing it to reduce the daily supply charge.

Because the electricity retailer will accept a payment from the electricity distributor for every kilowatt-hour of solar electricity their customers export into the grid, limiting the amount of solar feed-in tariff customers receive is, as far as I am concerned, stealing from them.

Let Me Know Who The Offenders Are

Rather than contacting all 20+ electricity retailers in Australia and asking for details of how they pay solar households for the clean electricity they supply to the grid, I am hoping readers can let me know about offenders in the comments.  I will use this information to begin my investigations into their foul deeds and hopefully shame them into changing their ways.

It May Contravene Australian Consumer Law

At the very least it should be possible to stop these retailers from simply stating they offer a set feed-in tariff per kilowatt-hour of solar electricity if they have no intention of paying it for every kilowatt-hour.  Under Australian Consumer Law, products have to live up to their descriptions and I think that with the way solar feed-in tariffs are presented now, any reasonable person would conclude they apply to every kilowatt-hour of solar electricity exported to the grid.

Footnotes

  1. Red Energy is owned by Snowy Hydro, which owns and manages the Snowy Mountains hydroelectric scheme.
  2. I only talked to someone in their call center and not the CEO or Vice-President of Talking To Ronald, and I have noticed that sometimes people in call centers don’t know what they are talking about.  But the operator I talked to seemed very much on the ball or “lit”, as the young people say these days, and I am optimistic the information I was given was correct.
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. Mark Byrne says

    Hi Ronald,
    As the project manager for the TEC/Greenpeace Green Electricity Guide, the update of which is currently underway, I’d also appreciate knowing of any retailers doing this (so we can score them down accordingly).
    Thanks
    Mark Byrne
    Energy Market Advocate
    Total Environment Centre
    [email protected]

  2. many are doing a similar thing, upping your kWh rate when you go solar, by about the same as the feed in tarif.

    • In QLD the setting of energy prices involves a State Government Regulator. Every year they go through a process of receiving applications by the Providers, including submissions by organisations and individuals with a public interest. After the process of consultation and review a determination is made and published by the QLD State Government that sets the price for the next 12 month period usually July to June. In QLD It is the State Government that is setting the price not the Generators and Distributors. This is not an unusual process given the assets held by the State Government in Public Ownership.

      • Hi Ant..
        What you say is partially correct.
        You’re correct for the areas outside South East Queensland in the Ergon network areas.
        From the relevant department’s website – https://www.dews.qld.gov.au/electricity/prices
        “Deregulation of retail electricity prices in South East Queensland (SEQ) commenced on 1 July 2016. This means the QCA no longer regulates retail electricity prices for residential and small business customers in SEQ. Instead, retailers publish their market and standing offers online and on the Australian Energy Regulator’s independent price comparator website, Energy Made Easy, where customers are able to compare and evaluate available product offerings. This reform is encouraging retailers to set more competitive prices in SEQ, and offer customers a greater range of products and services.”

  3. I’m currently TRYING to switch electricity retailer. It’s been an absolute mess and I’m still waiting for the final resolution. I contacted the supplier I’m switching to and was told various different stories and I have also been using their WebChat services (keep the transcipts!), I had numerous Call-backs from them.

    I’ve now lodged a complaint with the Energy Ombudsman and supplied them a report with date/times, Names and what is said and Transcripts.

    That’s my advice if you are not happy with what they are doing. You only have to mention the word Ombudsman on the phone or chat session for them to try harder but in the end just go to the Ombudsman website and do a complaint there and you can attach a report file (SA)

    • I recently swap retailer from energy Australia to GLOBIRD because many few reasons one of them I can’t even understand what they charging me.
      I’m very happy with GLOBIRD now because I received my bill monthly and the bills explain everything how many I generate in a month and services charge,I’m paying like 0.79 cents per day charge and .13 cents off peak and shoulder and weekend and .25 cents peak which is 3pm to 9pm and grid export giving me .12 cents…I’m happy because I’m getting credit like $20 starting September.

      • Gina,
        “I’m paying . . . . . . . 13 cents off peak and shoulder and weekend ”
        13 cents off what?

        • Rephrasing Gina’s statement:
          I’m paying ….. 13 cents for the off-peak, shoulder and weekend tariffs.

          • David,
            Can you find any rates on the Globird site that reflect Gina’s figures, please?

            (I’m not saying they don’t exist, it is just that they seem to have a confusing number of differing rates.)
            And if the rates do exist, it is one of the rare occasions I wish I lived in Victoria. (Current resident on Far North Coast NSW, right on the Qld border.) :>

  4. Steve Charles says

    There has been a lot of discussion about going big on solar, so I thought I would share with you some figures from my latest bill covering April to July this year. Bear in mind this is a winter season and I have 10kW of PV on the roof and ours is a totally electric household. Grid power used is $337; FIT at 12c comes to $233, then there is the service to property charge of $81. Clearly, 10kW of solar (the maximum allowed per phase in SA) is insufficient to offset all power costs given the current FIT of 12c (recently increased from 8c). With discounts and GST included, the actual bill is $185, greater than I had hoped.

    Of course, during the summer months, I might do better, but the current FIT of 12c is unfair and should be 25c in my view which should still allow the power company to make a fat profit from free power.

    • I have deployed a similar strategy by upgrading from 5 kW to a 8 kW system. Our Export to Import ratio to end up with a cost less than $1.00 per day falls somewhere between 4-6 : 1 I currently have installed two 1.2 Enphase Storage Batteries. On the basis of our current production/consumption profile I would achieve close to a Zero billing per annum with a 9.99 kW system and a total of 4 Batteries. If I upgraded from single to three Phase Power [cost $2,500] i could size up to 30 kW [10 kW per phase]. The only issue is the loss of opportunity cost of being throttled to a maximum of in this exact moment to 5 kW. At the moment with a 8 kW system we have not experienced any throttling. I have posted elsewhere on this page how FIT is determined.

      • Jack Wallace says

        doh! go straihjt to stand-alone. A battery-bank of basic lead-acid batteries to suit should last about five years, and you’ll pay for them in savings of your ‘service charge’ in a year. It’ll pay to adjust your usage/time of use a bit, but there’s plenty of advice available. ….. and a mate of mine was until recently running an entire country pub (fridges etc etc etc) on a 10kw system.) These days panels are dirt cheap, and appropriate l/a batteries can be had anywhere for about $2 per ah. ( and quit often rather less than that. It strikes me that ~ these days ~ the more money people have the fewer brains they have. (or find a use for, anyway)

        • All well and good I hope you have had your insurance policy amended and you have a certificate from an appropriate qualified technician who did the installation and you used materials fit for the purpose for which they were intended to be used. Contrary to popular belief insurance company practice is to find a reason to deny the claim rather than a reason to pay it. There is a much better analogy and that is do things in haste ignoring potential risks repent at leisure. I notice you omitted a personal disclaimer for everything that followed doh!

        • Kate Red is my power company my billls monthly .i do have and understand winter but from. 90dollars a month to imagine my horror my last bill a few days ago was 273 dollars .my solar was 5dollars Another pensioner

  5. In QLD the Feed in Tariff [FIT] is regulated by the State Government at 0.10102c per kWh July 2017 to June 2018. Last time I checked the wholesale spot price for energy was approximately $109.00 per megawatt but this can vary based on the in this moment power required to meet demand. On those numbers it would appear the Retailer is paying a similar price as they would a commercial generator where capacity is greater than in that moment demand. Small scale PV Solar Generators cannot expect to be paid a premium where their contribution to the grid is not dispatchable, variable throughout the day and sometimes intermittent. I would go as far as to say that Small Scale Solar Generators probably constituted an em-buggerance on network energy control management systems another reason to depreciate their value.

    • What needs to be determined first is what the policy intent in terms of energy policy is. While the federal government doesn’t seem to think that renewal energy is important, we may actually need a policy which encourages the use of renewable energy.
      For that reason there may be good policy reasons to encourage solar feed-in. The problem is that government policy has not encouraged the development of good, lower-cost, dispatchable generators.

  6. I’m early on in the process, in that I have just installed a PV system, and am still waiting for the completion of the process with my retailer and distributor. What was interesting was that I had to change to a plan which included feed in. That resulted in my retailer (Simply Energy) giving me an additional 2% discount on my electricity and gas usage rates, bringing my discounts on usage on electricity and has to 42% and 27% respectively. That is still off the standard retail rates that applied on my previous plan. What still remains to be seen is how the invoicing process works. What interests me is why they would give a higher discount – they clearly seem to have a greater desire to keep customers with solar PV systems.

    • Geoff,
      “giving me an additional 2% discount on my electricity and gas usage rates, bringing my discounts on usage on electricity and has to 42% and 27% respectively”

      42% off what? (i.e. how much are you being charged per kWh used?)
      And what is your Daily Usage charge?

  7. am looking to switch to Alinta Energy and reading there T&C’s you will only receive a credit towards your next bill and at termination the amount is extinguished. It also says they are not under any circumstances required to pay you any amount of money in respect to solar credits which have accrued.
    So it looks like the FiT can only reduce your next energy bill and when the agreement terminates you lose them.

    • Have a look at this company. Seems to have the best deals around. Maybe there’s a catch but I can’t find it. I’m in VIC.

      There are three variations of plans here http://energythatcould.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/PriceFactSheet_United_Choice_RES-2017-09-15-Final.pdf

      • Hi Glenn,

        thanks for the plans for Pacific Hydro. I’m also in Vic, although with Ausnet, not United Energy – noticed that the deal with United is much better than Ausnet.

        Anyway, currently with Origin and have just run the figures for the past 3 months and the savings come to ~ $46.00, so potential savings of ~ $185.00 PA.

        I’ve also looked for any catches with the deal, but all looks good to me. A 2 year period with fixed prices, but no penalty to exit.

        cheers

        • Hi Peter
          It all looks pretty good and i am seriously looking to change to Pacific Hydro when my Energy Aust bill comes this month.

    • As a matter of principle if that was the deal I simply would not trade with them at any price given they are purchasing what are exports with a value and adding that value to your account. There are of course terms and conditions that can be expressed in any contract but what can be put to the test is whether those terms and conditions are unconscionable and whether they can be legally enforced. Better to make a decision before it ever got to that point.

  8. Eddie Robinson says

    Hi Ronald.
    I’m happy to supply my bill which is part of PowerShop that I started after the “One big switch” campaign.
    If you have an email address I can forward to, I’d appreciate it.
    Thanks in advance
    Eddie

  9. Steve Charles says

    I agree that solar PV is an em-buggerance on network control management. Each solar PV installation creates a small voltage rise (on my property about 3V), but when the sun shines there will be lots of solar installations all doing their bit to increase line voltage. It is a challenge for the network controllers, but in other countries, network voltage regulators are now available to deal with this situation.
    Companies like Reposit Power and AGL are demonstrating that small scale solar PV installations can be part of a virtual power station. Under these circumstances, households in the network should be paid closer to the retail value for the power they contribute as this is dispatchable power.

    • I had this problem with my recent installation. The Inverter is set to trip and 253Volts and was constantly tripping out on a nice sunny day. Often multiple times all consecutive. (There are about 30 houses in the street and about 25%+ have Solar, several have 3-phase systems)
      The installer eventually lifted the trip out voltage several volts and its been good so far. The reason I know its tripping is that the Inverter is located in the garage, near to my office and I can easily hear the relays clattering away as it disconnects. For many installations located on outside walls, you would be none the wiser.

      • If you’ve got an inverter with decent wifi software you can track this.
        I’ve got a Fronius inverter which has great Solar.web usage software. I also got their “smart meter” as well that tracks all export and from grid power.
        I had a similar problem & upped the trip voltage and all has been great since

        • Geoff Rehmet says

          Just a thought on the Fronius datamanager. It is worth keeping in mind that while the Fronius solar JSON API is read-only, it has no security. You need to make a point of making sure your network is secure, otherwise an attacker could gain access to data from your inverter. One thing that can be inferred from you electricity usage is whether you are at home or not.

      • Steve Charles says

        Many people with solar PV are oblivious to the fact that a high line voltage can trip out inverters during the best part of the day. I had a 5kW system installed which worked so well that I had another one installed only to find out that the second one was tripping out on sunny days. It took me a while to figure out what was going on. The voltage rise caused by the first inverter was causing the second one to trip out. If you are living in a street where there are lots of installations, then it is likely that some inverters will be tripping out and the owners will have no idea unless they monitor performance. I live in a rural area and typically have voltages exceeding 256V, enough to trip out some inverters. This is why monitoring is so important.

    • This may be of interest to readers when it comes to buying and selling power:

      https://arena.gov.au/blog/dex/

      Of course the much better deal is to be paid the wholesale spot price that applies at the time you actually export the energy. At the moment this does not appear to a universally available arrangement but not having done some right now research I could not say that for certain especially if Cairns in FNQ was a location.

      As for a fixed price for export offered by the Retailer that is usually the average value estimated that will apply during the contracted period. That is not to say that there are no provisions within the contract that allow a variation in that amount.

  10. Both my neighbour and myself keep an eye out on offers from different electricity retailers. So recently I created a spreadsheet where the “bottom line” from figures from his latest bill from a different retailer can be compared to my retailer’s rates, and vice versa.

    I have also used it to apply the advertised rates of other suppliers to our latest bills.

    What has emerged from these exercises, more often than not is it is the case of the more competitive, smaller retailers “giving with one hand and taking with the other”. In other words, e.g. a great feed-in tariff being offset by an onerous daily supply charge. Or a better-than-usual Peak rate being offset by an expensive OffPeak rate.

    In the majority of instances, the spreadsheet establishes the difference in quarterly charges is often no more than three to four dollars a quarter.

    Of course the effect of the same rates can vary significantly from consumer to consumer. E.G. a low-usage / high-exporter consumer would more than likely benefit from a high feed-in tariff retailer, plus there are multiple convolutions of charges and FITs. But, as mentioned above, often the result of apparently very different rates result in minimal difference with the bottom line of the quarterly electricity bill. And a figure of three or four dollars a quarter definitely does not warrant the hassle of changing retailers and the more-often-than-not stuffing up of the last / first bill from the old / new supplier.

    (Of course, the above comment relates to time-of-use billing.)

  11. I was with EnergyAustralia for many years and it did not start too well. They initially charged me for my usage AND my FIT. But eventually this mistake was rectified and as far as I know paid my FID accurately after this glitch.
    In recent times I have changed over to EnergyLocals, which do not show up on your NSW list. As far as I know they were the only electricity supplier who decreased their charges for my usage and increased my FIT recently. Their present rates are Anytime usage 24.20 cents/kWh and Daily charge 90.20 cents/kWh. The FIT is 12.87 cents/kWh. They accurately pay any credits.There are higher FITs such as Origin 15 cents/kWh, but their charges are a lot higher. The daily charge is the killer as you pay it no matter how little power you use!

    • I should had stated all these figures included GST.

      • In Cairns FNQ the General Tariff is $0.28479 including GST per kWh and FIT $0.10102 [GST exempt] per kWh. Daily charge $1.16 [can vary between FNQ consumers based on when and the type of digital meter supplied]. So you enjoy slightly better pricing than we do. The only other consideration is that from the 1st Sept 2017 FIT is now paid on export from all systems up to 10 kW per phase. However every systems in this moment throttling has been maintained at 5 kW which would only be an issue where high production is exported and low consumption in that moment was the order of the day.

  12. Have been with Energy Australia for years and they have done exactly what you’d expect. They will pay you money back or take those credits off your bill or even your attached gas bill if you have gas with them too. If they’d tried to pull some of that crap you described above I’d be screaming at them and likely left years ago!

  13. For those that claim that FIT is undervalued you first have to answer this question. Is the Retailer obliged to purchase what you export and if not why would they pay more than the commercial wholesale market spot price? In my view FIT pales in significance when it comes to the actual energy offer.

    Retailers have a tendency to make their offers as complicated as possible and when analysed mostly weighted to their advantage. They are highly reliant on the consumer not being able to analyse their cost structure based on actual seasonal consumption data before committing to it. So if you don’t know the basics of how to analyse the offer you may well get a nasty surprise when the first account is presented for payment. By then it is to late they have successfully delivered a gotcha.

    For example a general time of use tariff where different tariff rates apply to consumption at timed intervals during a 24 hour period. If that is the offer who knows what their average consumption is in lets say 15 minute time intervals on any one day and the actual cost by applying the applicable tariff for that time interval. The most expensive time period is usually 3:00pm to 9:00-9:3pm Fixed Seasonal Demand charges is another example of a classic gotcha and without some pretty sophisticated analytical software and access to the meter data difficult if not impossible for the average consumer to pre-calculate or validate any billing.

    Another potential gotcha is where the offer is wrap in a discount for paying by Direct Debit and what happens if and when the transaction fails to process on the due date for payment. You really need to read the terms and conditions of any direct debit authority including the on time guarantees offered by the banking facility that performs the financial transaction. It is not good enough to claim that it should have been done when it could not have been done.

  14. Another kind of Rip Off on electricity bills with solar feed in takes place when retailers offer a discount on “the total bill”.
    In practice this results in not getting the full discount on electricity actually imported.
    Along with the GST scam this can add up to a substantial amount each year.
    How it works: (Randomly generated example)
    Imports. 469 kw. @ .30………… $140.70
    daily charge. 90 days @ $1.00… $90.00
    Sub total …………………………….$230.70
    Solar feed in 360 kw… @ 11.3 = ($40.68)
    total ……………………………………$190.02
    discount 15% ……………………….($28.50)
    total ……………………………………$161.51
    If your account is in credit due to exports you don’t get ANY pay on time discount. even though you have actually paid on time.

    Compare above with;

    Imports and daily charge $230.70
    Discount 15% ……………..($34.60)
    subtotal………………………$196.10
    less feed in…………………….(40.68)
    total…………………………….$155.41

    Then there is the GST scam(?) where you pay GST on imports and daily charge not on what you actually end up paying it’s a little like buying something on sale (marked down 30%) at Woolies but having to pay GST on the full pre sale price.

    • GST is exempt from FIT in your hands. My understanding is that GST is paid on the actual billing amount applicable to the cost of the import and fixed daily and any other charges. The discount is not applied to the billing amount before the GST is calculated and brought to account. You might like to validate those rules.

    • Keith,

      you need to read carefully what the retailer’s contract states in terms of discounts. I don’t have an agreement which covers discount on connection fees, only on usage, so it is very clear that the discount applies to what I consume only in my case (not to my connection fees). GST needs to be charged on the services you consume – i.e. the usage from the grid and connection fee. What you get in terms of feed-in can only be credited after GST has been applied. Where things become more complicated is if you are registered for GST (i.e. if you are a business) and quite honestly, as a home-owner you don’t want to go there, because if GST were to apply to your sales to your retailer, you would need to remit GST to the ATO.
      What you need to keep in mind here is that, from a tax perspective there are actually two transactions happening – your purchase from the retailer (consumption from the grid and connection charge) and your sale to the retailer. They actually need to be treated separately from a tax perspective. Fortunately, for most homeowners, the FIT you get is tax-exempt.

  15. Jim Raleigh says

    This may be the subject of a separate post but there is another issue that has recently come to my attention. Most inverters are designed to shut down if the line voltage exceeds a given voltage for a set amount of time (in my case 255V for 10 mins). When this happens export ceases and so does solar production including battery charging.
    I was under the impression that the line voltage in Australia was a notional 240V, but at my home it measures out at 252V with the solar turned off. At this level I am getting inverter shutdown events at the rate of 6 to 10 a day on a clear sunny day.
    It seems to me that by keeping the line voltage high the supplier is effectively denying the opportunity to export AS WELL AS reducing ones own production for self consumption and battery charging.
    Surely this is also a ripoff.

    • Ronald Brakels says

      If it makes you feel any better, it actually took several minutes for the Adelaide internet to download that link onto my computer.

  16. Richard Gault says

    When changing retailers I have found a lot of your credit suddenly disappears. I had a big battle with Click Energy and because of their massive increase in charges including daily access I was just glad to get away from them. Now I am with Powershop and they seem so much better to deal with but its early days yet and seeing the cost differences. At least they let me do my own meter read every two weeks and post it online. As well they are getting me a smart meter which will mean no one wioll have to come inside my fence and face my dogs which they dont usually do anyway and its sometimes 12 months before my meter is read by Energex,

    • Richard,
      1. “When changing retailers I have found a lot of your credit suddenly disappears.”
      So request the original retailer to send your credit to them.
      It is understandable that a retailer would be reluctant to send *your* money to another retailer.
      I have found that eventually the retailer holding your credit will get in touch with you, asking “Cheque or direct deposit?”

      2. “As well they are getting me a smart meter . . . . . ”
      Careful what you wish for, mate. With a smart meter it will be a case of “Welcome to the world of Demand Charging” – i.e. the supplier saying “there is really high demand this evening around the time when everybody is preparing dinner, so we’ll up the charge, to say 90c per kWh for a couple of hours. With a smart meter, it is a case of the retailer pushing a couple of buttons. Without a smart meter they would have to send somebody around to your property that evening and brave your dogs.
      I think you’d be far better off having the dogs keeping the bastards away from your meter settings.

  17. The numbers for Powershop in Sydney are:
    Connection fee $1.04 a day
    off peak 19.8 per KW/H
    peak 44.59
    shoulder 21.70
    FIT 12.8

  18. Click in Queensland (Energex) currently pays 15 cents FIT. With Click you pay a minimum $50 per month, and when the meter is read every 3 months, your bill’s reconciled. During periods when I have large feed in, the credits are transferred to the next period.
    As per another comment I haven’t check what happens if you’re in credit when you switch

    • ZEN,
      And what are Click’s rates. (usage and daily supply)?
      Big picture issue without the other figures.

  19. I am with Energy Australia, NSW, Endeavour Energy Area. My feed in tariff acts as a credit on the entire bill so you get paid regardless of how much you generate or consume. My bill for Jul/Aug/Sep just came in for $14.07

    • Evan,
      But how many kWh did you consume?
      How much are you being charged per kWh?
      What is your FIT?
      How much did you export?
      What is the size of your system?
      Etc etc.

  20. I can speak very positively in favour of Synergy in WA. My 3kW system was installed in 2011 so I was lucky to catch the premium FIT. They have always applied the full amount of credit promptly. In previous years they would send a cheque upon request, now they automatically pay by direct debit each time the credit rolls over $100.

    In fact since 2008 (starting with a previous house and system) I have had nothing but a good experience. One time I called with a problem (incorrect meter reading on a bill, swapped a digit or something) and they fixed that quickly by waiving the erroneous bill and reconciling it with the next (correct) reading.

    Very satisfied customer!

    • Robert Wallis says

      I’ll be interested to see if your still a satisfied customer with state owned Synergy when your feed in tariff reduces to 7.13 cents when your premium FIT ends. I also have a 3kw 3 phase system and lucky to cover the supply charge with the FIT taken into account, however the anytime usage charge is 24.06 cents. Quite a substantial difference. Unfortunately they are the only provider in SW ,W.A.

  21. who pays the best feed in tariffs the best discounts when you pay on time , we are with simply energy , get a 40% discount
    7 receive a feed in of 0.113000 per KW , my only query on solar power is why dont we get charged for the power we use once we use more than our input as we are charged at a rate of 0.276400, we actually put more into the grid than we use, so my belief is we should not be charged at all, simply energy would still be making a profit,

    • Give Simply Energy a call, and ask them to increase your discount. On their RACV members plan with solar feed in, they are now offering 42% off electricity and 27% off gas.

  22. I thought of writing about what I have experienced with my electricity usage even though it is not directly related to this particular topic as the others may also be experiencing similar issues.

    I live in Victoria and moved into a property recently that has a secondary line which is connected to the Hot Water system. I am with PowerShop and was getting two separate $ amounts for the two lines for All Day usage (with cheaper rate for the line for the Hot Water system). Then I installed a Solar system and PowerShop completed the configurations on 20th Sep. I also noticed that since then PowerShop has changed me to a Peak-Off Peak system even though I never asked for that (I am not complaining about it as, according to my calculations, it has saved me about $20 in this months bill). I generally download my usage CSV file from PowerShop (which provides how much was consumed for each line and how much was Fed in back to the grid during each 30 mins.)

    While analysing the details, I noticed that until 2nd Oct, the Dedicated line (for the Hot Water) had used any power between 11:00pm – 7:00am (which is the Off-Peak period. But since 2nd Oct, I haven’t seen any usage between 11:00pm – 12:00 midnight and there is usage between 7:00am – 8:00am. As a result I have been charged at the Peak Rate for what was used between 7:00am – 8:00am. I have rung PowerShop and the operator said she has to get the details from the metering team as to why this is happening. I am expecting a call from PowerShop by the end of this week.

    Has anyone noticed what was significant with 2nd October? That was the first day of Day-Light-Saving (DLS). Looks like the “Smart Meter” is not so smart to make the necessary adjustments according to DLS.

    Anyone who has got Peak-Off Peak arrangements, please double check to confirm that you are not getting Ripped Off by this.

    • If you check your ‘smart meter” you will see it does not move to daylight savings time ever. It ‘might’ be that the monitoring accounts for that, not sure.

      In my case I have monitored my off peak usage (On a Solar Plan) even though there is no separate circuit. Off peak with energy australia is from 11pm to 7am. It just means that my power usage at that time is off peak rates.

      I have been monitoring my smart meter for a few days though and it seems that there is no DST correction at all.

  23. Many readers are advising they are getting an X% discount off their bill from their supplier.

    Surely this figure is irrelevant, because it begs the question “X% off what?”.

    In order to have any relevance, what is needed are FULL details of charges, including the daily Supply charge.
    (I would quite happily take over any person’s bill and offer them a 50% discount (as long as they allowed me to charge, say, $1 per kWh usage, and say, $5 a day supply charge. :>

    And obviously the X% discount quoted needs to specify whether it is over the whole bill, or just usage, or what.

    • Thats very trtue, one needs to know the whole deal. eg

      Here are my Energy Australia contract details (Victoria)

      Peak usage 7am to 11pm weekdays, 41.558c/kWh

      Off peak including weekends 22.33c/kWh

      Supply charge $1.408/day ! All above include GST.

      Discount of 33% applies to usage charges ONLY.

      Feed in is 11.3c/kWh

      OK, I know this is a crappy deal based on cost / kWh and even daily charge. I was just put onto this Solar ‘deal’ when I installed my 4kW system about 2 weeks ago. Prior to solar installation, usage from the grid was about 32c/kWh.

      Currently looking around for a better deal but it’s very difficult to compare apples with apples as they say. My next bill is due shortly where I will assess what to do.

      In the meantime over last 18 days, I have fed 224.3kW into the grid.
      I have used 90.5kWh from the grid. [48.2kWh has been off peak usage.]

  24. Have just installed a Solar system in Victoria. Am with Red Energy at present and am considering Globird as they have a 17c feed-in (Red En. 11.3c)
    How do I monitor the energy total and the solar component to check if the retailer is giving me the correct FiT? I’ve heard that ? companies are fudging the kWh usage. I would really like to know where I can get this info, as I am a babe-in-the-woods when it comes to this new-fangled stuff 🤔
    I’m 69,asyoumight have guessed!

    • Ronald Brakels says

      Hello Susan.

      Your electricity meter will be able to tell you how much solar electricity you have exported to the grid in return for your solar feed-in tariff. So when you get your electricity bill you can go to your meter and go through the readout numbers and check there is one that matches the number of kilowatt-hours you have received solar feed-in tariff for.

      The good news is that, although they will sometimes estimate electricity use instead of actually reading the meter, when the meter is read the retailers almost never get it wrong. This is because it is something that households can easily check.

      If they are going to rip you off it’s more likely to be from something like taking your discounts away when you least expect it rather than not using the correct meter readings.

  25. Stephen Fuller says

    What is the real purpose of ‘discounts’?

    It seems to me that they are purely a marketing technique designed to cloud and confuse consumers.

    I think that there is a case for banning them and forcing retailers to make genuine confusion free offers only. They can add penalties for late payment if they like to reflect actual payment terms and conditions but capped at the actual cost os the losses that they incur as a result of ‘late’ payment.

    Retail electricity offers are opaque enough without sneaky attempts to gain market advantage through confusion.

  26. I’m with Powershop and have been monitoring my feedback to the grid for the last 2 months and it would seem that they are ripping me off to the tune of about 60KWH per month. I’ve been with them for a while now and noticed that the app shows my usage and feedin as estimates however when I receive my final bill it’s the estimate that they credit me with and not what my inverter says I have fed back to the grid.

    • Ronald Brakels says

      Hi Terry

      Most inverters aren’t capable of displaying how many killowatt-hours are sent into the grid for a feed-in tariff, so your app may only be making a bad estimate. But electricity retailers are only allowed to use the readings from your electricity meter, so if your electricity meter readings don’t match the figures on your electricity bill, there is a problem.

  27. Ronald, it’s Powershops app that is displaying the estimated feed back to the grid, my inverter is providing me with how much I’m feeding back to the grid and they don’t match. Their estimated feedback is less than the inverter is showing by more than 2 KWH per day.

    • Ronald Brakels says

      If your electricity meter figures match what is on your electricity bills then they aren’t ripping you off, but it does mean they have a lousy app.

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