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New network tariffs give customers more choice and support more solar uptake

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New tariffs for the electricity distribution network component of electricity bills provide wider choice for many residential and business customers to manage their energy costs and support the continued growth of rooftop solar.

Distribution network charges make up about 30% of the retail bill in South Australia. Among key changes to network charges available to retailers to offer customers from 1 July 2020 are:

  • a Time of Use (ToU) ‘solar sponge’ tariff for the 20% of residential customers with interval meters, with the ‘super’ off-peak period of 10 am–3 pm priced at 25 per cent of the standard rate;
  • a Prosumer tariff for residential customers who have interval meters and who want to discharge energy into the grid from their battery at peak periods; and
  • more flexible tariff options for business customers.

The SA Government is proposing new retail obligations requiring retailers to have offers that allow customers to take advantage of the cheaper daytime network charges.

The new ToU tariffs and incentives for shifting controlled load (such as electric hot water heating) are aimed at encouraging residential electricity consumers to use more energy in the middle of the day when we have a surplus of cheaper solar energy being generated on rooftops across the State. They also will enable cheap at-home recharging of electric vehicles.

“Our new residential Time of Use tariffs have been supported by stakeholders and are aimed at encouraging more consumption of electricity during the middle of the day, when energy is cheaper and abundant,” said Paul Roberts, Manager Corporate Affairs at SA Power Networks.

There is now so much energy being generated from rooftop solar in SA that it can exceed demand on parts of the network and AEMO has confirmed this ‘solar trough’ poses a very real threat to maintaining network stability.

“It is a win-win. In supporting greater consumption of the available solar energy customers will benefit, and we can also support AEMO in managing security of supply,” Mr Roberts said.

Controlled load (such as hot water) will move to the new ToU tariff arrangements for consumers with smart meters. About 20% of these systems have interval meters today, and by 2025 that may be 50%. Retailers will have an incentive to manage this load shift.

It is recommended customers talk to their retailer to ensure they are on the deal that best suits their energy use.

Media contact: 0403 582 500

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