On 13 October 2016, the NSW Government sent terms of reference to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) asking it to ‘prepare advice on the retail offers and technology available to solar energy customers’.
Currently in NSW, around 146,000 customers currently receive a subsidised feed-in tariff of 20 or 60 cents per kWh under the state ‘Solar Bonus Scheme’. Once the Scheme closes on 31 December 2016, all solar customers can choose from voluntary feed-in tariffs set by retailers in the competitive market. The current benchmark range 5.5 to 7.2 cents per kWh.
IPART is asking retailers to provide information on their service offering to solar energy customers, including:
- the types of digital smart meters offered to residential solar customers and inherent functionality, e.g. in-home displays, data analytics) and costs;
- what are the upfront costs associated with installing a new meter;
- what other types of technologies, e.g. battery storage solution, will be available to solar bonus scheme residential customers; and
- the kinds of tariff structures that are available to solar energy residential customers?
Information from retailers is due to be returned by 27 October with IPART providing a report to the government by 27 November 2016, after which the government intends to make the report public.
The state subsidised scheme in WA was available between 1 July 2010 and 1 August 2011 and also provided feed-in-tariffs of 60c or 20c per KWh. Although the scheme is now closed, eligible customers are guaranteed the subsidised rates for 10 years.