NSW nett FIT Issues

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NSW nett FIT Issues

Postby fairgoforsolar » Sat Aug 18, 2012 10:03 am

In May 2011 I purchased an 8.2kw solar PV system which was installed in June 2011. At the time I had Integral as my electricity retailer and discussed with them what happens regarding excess power that I generate from my system. I was advised by them on 3 seperate occassions that as the Solar Bonus Scheme had closed that I could only have a nett metered system installed. I queried them as to how nett metering worked and was advised on all occassions that the excess power I generated would be applied to my bill as a reduction.

After having to wait until November 2011 for a bill from Integral I finally received one and found that they had not applied any of my excess electricity to my bill. I phoned them and was to;d by Integral that they do not provide a feed-in tariff at all and that I wasn't entitled to anything for my excess power.

I phoned around a number of other electricity retailers before contacting AGL to try and find a FIT deal. At the time Origin were offering 6c FIT, Energy Australia were also offering 6c, however after explaining what had occured with Integral AGL said they could offer me a FIT of 28c on a 2 year fixed contract. I queried this with them and spent considerable time on the phone with AGL and confirmed with them that I had a nett metered system installed after the end of the Solar Bonus Scheme. I then requested that AGL confirm the offer in writing.

I received the written offer in early December 2011 and accepted the offer. I was advised that my account would be switched over at my next meter read in February 2012.

In late February 2012 I received a letter from AGL advising my account had been switched over and confirming my charge rates. The letter also detailed my FIT at 8c. I phoned AGL and was advised that I was only entitled to 8c FIT. AGL have since advised me that there was a system error when I was offered the 28c and that no one on nett metering is entitled to any more then 8c after 28 April 2011.

I have since been fighting to try and have the contract offered by AGL enforced. I have lodged complaints with EWON who have advised me that as it is a contractual issue then there is nothing they can do. I have lodged complaints with the NSW Department of Fair Trading and been advised by them that as my issue involves electricity then it needs to be referred to EWON and there is nothing Fair Trading can do.

I have been doing some research online and found a number of people have recently received letters from AGL increasing their nett FIT from 8c to 28c.

Has anyone else experienced anything like what I have? Has anyone got any advice as to how to get a fair FIT in NSW?

How many other people have been conned by AGL in NSW?
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Re: NSW nett FIT Issues

Postby zzsstt » Sat Aug 18, 2012 4:50 pm

If your system was installed after the Solar Bonus Scheme ended, then you can only get what your electricity provider offers you. Most power companies are currently paying between 0c and 8c/kwh.

If you have a written offer of a fixed 28c FIT, which you accepted within any expiry period they attached to it then you might be able to take them to court and have it enforced, but as you have been already been advised that is a persoanl legal case rather than anything regulated. If AGL will not comply with their own letter of offer, and assuming that you have met all your obligations stipulated in that offer, then I would suggest your next stop is a solicitor.

You would also have to consider whether a net FIT of 28c for 2 years is really worth the effort of a court case, and that would depend on how much of that power you actually export, which would likely be in the region of 20-25kwh/day exported (assuming average usage patterns). So you would get perhaps $4500 over the two years, compared to $1300 or so if you selected a company offering an 8c FIT. But if you have big airconditioners running through the day, then the export will obviously decrease.

fairgoforsolar wrote:Has anyone got any advice as to how to get a fair FIT in NSW?


You can pick from any of the many power companies serving your area, but because the FIT is no longer regulated you can only take what you are offered - and other than your official regulated supplier (who can change the FIT at any time but must supply your power at the regulated price), they can change your power costs or FIT whenever it suits them.

Given the wholesale price of electricity, there is a reasonable case for saying that 8c or so is indeed a fair price for selling power, even if it seems unfair in comparison to the subsidised FIT's that preceded it!
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Re: NSW nett FIT Issues

Postby Inspector » Sat Aug 18, 2012 8:46 pm

fairgoforsolar wrote:
Has anyone else experienced anything like what I have? Has anyone got any advice as to how to get a fair FIT in NSW?

How many other people have been conned by AGL in NSW?


The Solar Industry organisations in Australia have been pushing for a 1:1 FIT for a long time (possibly since before the 60c NSW Solar Bonus Scheme) however their pleas seem to be falling onto deaf ears, with the NSW govt (and likely other states) changing the rules every 6 months or so (the most recent impacting all 60c Solar Bonus Scheme customers in a reduction of at least 6c of what they were previously receiving).

I wouldn't say AGL conned people, and as they told you, there was an issue with their billing system. I mentioned this many months ago, and AGL isn't the only retailer with the same problem. I suspect there to be thousands of customers affected. I doubt there is little the ombudsman can do. I don't know what the chances are of persuing a class action against the retailers, but I'm sure there's plenty of people that would be interested in exploring that avenue. The media would probably milk the story for everything it's worth, too.
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Re: NSW nett FIT Issues

Postby Clemo » Sat Aug 18, 2012 9:01 pm

I know of one customer who I installed a system for which was not connected under the SBS and they somehow got 28c per kwh from AGL.
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Re: NSW nett FIT Issues

Postby zzsstt » Sat Aug 18, 2012 9:56 pm

Inspector wrote:the NSW govt (and likely other states) changing the rules every 6 months or so (the most recent impacting all 60c Solar Bonus Scheme customers in a reduction of at least 6c of what they were previously receiving).


All SBS customers? I thought it was only those who were receiving more than the 60c FIT before the change?
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Re: NSW nett FIT Issues

Postby hsvz » Sun Aug 19, 2012 12:57 pm

My system was installed March 2012 and AGL has put me on 28c FIT no questions asked !
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Re: NSW nett FIT Issues

Postby fairgoforsolar » Sun Aug 19, 2012 8:27 pm

Hmmm ......... You are not the only one I've spoken to who has received the 28c FIT since I was told I was not entitled to it. Are you ona contract? How long is the contract for?

My contract does not state anything whatsoever about the SBS or any Gov't funded feed-in tariff. I was up front with AGL about having my system installed post SBS and AGL confirmed over the phone and in writing that I would get 28c and then once my account was switched over to AGL they dropped the FIT to 8c.

Would you not agree that is deceptive conduct?
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Re: NSW nett FIT Issues

Postby zzsstt » Mon Aug 20, 2012 7:46 am

"Deceptive" implies intent to deceive, in this case I suspect that there was no such intent, just a cock-up! There was a great deal of confusion with the various changes to the SBS, and solar in general. My own electricity retailer had "general enquiry" staff who had no idea and simply made things up as they went - only after 30minutes of "round the houses" could you get to talk to the guys who actually knew what was going on!

I am interested to know how hsvz got a 28c FIT - perhaps the application was registered before the end of the SBS? I know of people who applied whilst the SBS was in force, and then had installations made after it had finished and they got the SBS FIT. I think there was a cut-off date by which all installs had to be complete, but I can't remember what it was. However it was the application date that defined eligibility for the higher rate.

hsvz - when did you apply or sign the contract for your system?
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Re: NSW nett FIT Issues

Postby Tracker » Mon Aug 20, 2012 12:20 pm

.
The irony is that I know folk who had been given the AGL 28c and others at the same time who were refused..
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Re: NSW nett FIT Issues

Postby fairgoforsolar » Mon Aug 20, 2012 4:19 pm

The Irony is that when I spoke with AGL I ensured I was put through to their 'solar solutions' team and I went into great detail about my system and discussed with them how nett metering worked and what happens when charge rates increase and whether the feed-in tariff would also increase. They advised me that if I took up the offer the charge rates would increase at the annual review times as normal and the 28c feed-in tariff would not increase. They then assured me the feed-in tariff of 28c would not be reduced during the 2 year period of the contract.
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