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Solar the solution for Queensland customers?

24th Oct 2011

A recent electricity pricing trial could see Queensland customers charged more on "peak" days.

The initial results of the trial - currently being conducted by Energex and Ergon Energy - were praised by Energex chief executive Terry Effeney at a power and gas seminar in Brisbane last week.

According to the Brisbane Times, Mr Effeney said that the price of electricity was reaching 2.5 per cent of the average person's income and in the past when it has reached that number, there has been "political intervention".

"There are more price issues on the horizon," Mr Effeney said, speaking in front of members of the electricity industry.

"The key is to be environmentally friendly and reduce carbon while keeping the price of electricity down," he said.

Energex introduced a "theoretical price" in January, charging selected customers up to eight times the normal rate for electricity once they exceeded a threshold of use on "maximum demand" days, when air conditioning and pool pumps were in high use.

As compensation, customers were charged a different rate, and given a 20 per cent discount on electricity used in the "off peak" period between 20:00 and 08:00.

The trial is set to continue until the end of 2012.

Mr Effeney said there had been a 20 to 25 per cent reduction in the use of people's electricity during the peak times and days when they had a tariff.

This also comes after Energex asked its customers in Ipswich to sign up to a "Energy Conservation Community" scheme, offering customers incentives if they reduce their electricity use during peak times.

Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale told the Queensland Times that he backed the Energex plan, but the government also had a responsibility to make sure energy remained affordable.

"Electricity is a necessity, so we need to understand that we have to keep the price of basic living costs to a minimum," he said.

One way for a household to avoid peak and off-peak electricity prices would be to generate their own power, which can be easily achieved through rooftop solar panel systems.

The ability to generate their own energy not only leaves households relying less on their local electricity grid, but also provides a way to save money and the environment at the same time.

Posted by Mike Peacock - Solar Correspondent 

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