Rumours of a solar tax on consumers who have installed solar PV systems on their rooftops have been circulating for years but no one really saw this coming. Only a few weeks away from Christmas, Origin Energy (probably the biggest energy company in Australia) have announced a daily meter charge (tax) on their solar customers. This announcement obviously was meant to be released at a time when it would do minimum damage to customer relations and receive less coverage by the media.
Before you switch off and think whew, I'm not with Origin so I'm safe… Don't be so sure because you may already be paying a solar tax without even knowing it!
The solar meter "charge" tax letter
Personally, Origin Energy sent me a letter (by email) stating changes to my current billing arrangements namely in new tax I'd be paying… they call it "meter charges."
Notice how in the letter they've tried to frame it like this change is somewhat "fair" because now solar meter costs are being charged only to solar owners rather than everyone? This is just a simple marketing and dishonest media campaign to make it seem like this change was needed because of some outrageously unfair system burdening the rest of society to benefit the few; however, the real truth is solar customers pay for their meters to be upgraded during the install and get nothing for free!
Also, the incentive schemes enticing many of us to install solar on our rooftops is not the fault of the user and whether later these schemes were deemed over generous should be of no consequence to those households who accepted the deal in good faith.
But getting back to this solar meter charge/tax scam, how many times do they want us to pay for our meters? It's read the same as any other meter, it's essentially not much different to the old power meters, yet suddenly there's this new necessity to charge ordinary people for having one installed on their property. I smell a big fat dirty rat and it's called corporate greed with a big waft of government recouping losses from their poor decisions in the past when they pleaded with us all to get solar as a way to curb the ridiculous rising cost of electricity in this country.
I've written numerous times about how our high electricity costs are crippling our country – I know people who earn very high incomes and even they are winging about the cost of power. Imagine how pensioners and the unemployed or those with disabilities are going trying to cover the horrendous cost of their power bill each quarter… it must be awful!
Yet, it's these very people who have taken out loans, used up savings, and gone without just to afford a solar PV system so in the longer term they can just keep their heads above water to pay for using electricity in their own home.
Facts about the Solar Meter "Charge"
- Who has to pay it? At the moment it's Queensland property owners who have solar installed.
- When will the solar meter charge start? 1st January 2016.
- Is Origin Energy the only retailer charging? Nope, others have already started you just better check your bills… And, if not enough people complain be assured every electricity retailer will soon be charging.
- How long will this meter charge go for? According to Origin website: FOREVER
- Will the solar meter charge rate change or go up? According to Origin's own website: YES, you bet it will!
The thin edge of the solar tax wedge
Don't expect our elected members to help us because it's the Labor Party Government in Queensland who have actually given this tax on solar owners the green light. The Opposition (LNP) did raise their concern about the solar meter tax in parliament today but it hardly got a mention in the media and the Government just shrugged it off.
Now that the Government and electricity giants have a way to charge solar owners through the back door, expect they'll use it as a way to bump up their revenue base. And, as more people install solar PV systems (since this technology is becoming more affordable by the day) as a way to protect themselves from shock electricity bills they will buy into a trap and unwittingly commit to paying a new daily charge/rate/tax on their property on top of the many there are already.
I can foresee a time in the future when we'll all be MADE to buy solar systems as a requirement to own a property and then be made to basically rent it from the utility/Government. If this meter tax on solar owners is left to go unchallenged we will be selling our children out to be robbed in the future.
Just when consumers were starting to find a way (solar) to combat their rising energy costs, which is crippling our society and forcing pensioners to go cold in the winter and hot in the summer, the Government and energy retailers have scammed a way to make us poor again and get a new revenue stream to compensate for the drop in overall power usage.
Yes, that's right! Power usage is actually dropping in Australia and it's mainly because people can't afford to use electricity – a record 30,000 plus homes in QLD were disconnected due to unpaid electricity bills this year! That's why those with the means are getting solar PV systems to help reduce their power bills. People are also buying power friendly appliances, electrical goods, and lighting to help save costs. All these measures are reducing the energy we are consuming and this concerns the big utility companies and in turn the Government because it means less revenue for them.
Health costs on everyday Australians
People are becoming ill and contracting anxiety or other mental disorders from the stress of walking to their letter box to collect the mail worrying what their electricity bill is this time.
That is the truth! Our own Government is making people sick by inflicting a constant flow of new fees and charges on ordinary households to pay for the election promises they've made just to gain or stay in office.
The biggest financial stressor facing householders today is the cost of electricity – not the mortgage!
What can we do?
We can all put pressure on the authorities in various ways to make them listen, such as:
- Write to your local State and Federal member and voice your concern.
- Get on Facebook and other social media and chat about how unfair this solar tax is on households.
- Continue improving your energy savings with new technology and good energy usage practises.
- Increase the size of your PV system if possible.
- Share this article.
They're criminals… There's no doubt in my mind those incompetent State Labor ministers and the Premier who introduced this sneaky tax on solar are dishonest free-loafers who think they can pick the lowest fruit without anyone noticing.
The solar meter charge is a tax and there's no justification to introduce it. Trying to insinuate this tax is necessary to make it fairer by playing solar owners against non-solar owners is a fabrication and a disgraceful tactic that threatens our social fabric, which is reprehensible considering it's the government of the people who's doing it.
Mark my words, solar energy is the way of the future. The technology is getting better and pretty soon it'll be so good we won't need the grid at all; however, the grid needs us and they won't let us go without a fight even if it means taxing you for generating your own energy from the sun.
They want to tax the air we breathe and now they're taxing the sun that shines in the Sunshine State…