WA backs down on solar cuts

Solar feed in tariff cut for wa residents reversed 16000646 800511122 0 0 14090131 300

Residents of Western Australia will be pleased to hear that the government has backed down on proposed measures to change the feed in tariff rate for solar panel system users - a move that would have adversely affected a number of households.

Electricity prices in WA have been steadily increasing since 2009, therefore solar power systems have been a popular measure for households to take in order to reduce their costs and secure their own energy supply.

Western Australia's feed in tariff scheme has acted as a subsidy encouraging the use of solar power systems, giving consumers a financial incentive to become more environmentally sustainable. Any unused power a household generates can be exported back to the grid and money paid to the producers.

The feed in tariff scheme was open from July 2010 to August 2011 so new customers cannot receive the tariff, however original members of the scheme still receive their financial compensation for the power they produce for the grid.

This however came under threat as the WA government proposed to cut the feed in tariff rate from 40c per kilowatt hour (kWh) to 20c per kWh.

Yet due to intense public backlash, the WA government had to back down on this proposed measure and announced on August 12 that it would no longer be pursuing this measure.

"Quite simply, we got this decision wrong and we have to fix it," said Premier Colin Barnett.

"We have listened, and we appreciate the commitment that many people have made to take up renewable energy, like solar power."

Organisations in support of renewable energy such as the Australian Solar Council and Clean Energy Council have celebrated the government's decision.

"The government was quick to acknowledge that it had made the wrong decision, and you can’t ask for more than that," said David Green, chief executive of the Clean Energy Council.

"Retrospective changes to policy undermines public trust in the government. About 185,000 people would have been affected by this cut and it obviously caused significant concern among people who invested their hard-earned money to protect themselves and their families from rising power bills."

Mr Green also stated that it was due to the hard work of many individuals and organisations who campaigned for their voices and concerns to be heard.

Posted by Charlie Moore