The Baillieu Government has failed to advise Victorians receiving the premium solar feed-in tariff that they could be disqualified from the scheme if they install additional roof-top panels, Shadow Minister for Energy and Consumer Protection, Lily D’Ambrosio said today.
Ms D’Ambrosio said that the Government’s decision to sneakily post the changes on the Department of Primary Industry’s (DPI) website on 1 March was like setting a ‘booby trap’ for consumers who had signed up to the solar panel scheme before the Baillieu Government shut it down in September last year.
Under the changes, premium feed-in tariff customers who add further generating capacity after the scheme's closure will no longer be able to receive the premium tariff. “At the time the Baillieu Government broke its election promise and dumped the popular renewable energy scheme, it did not advise consumers already on the premium 60c per kilowatt rate of this ‘booby trap’,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.
“The Minister misled Victorians in his media statement of 1 September 2011, saying that the new scheme was not retrospective and did not affect those currently accessing the tariff.
“This is yet another example of this Government’s refusal to back renewable energy and the thousands of Victorians households who are installing solar panels.”
Ms D’Ambrosio said that more than 80,000 Victorian households, small businesses and community groups benefited from the premium feed-in tariff scheme.
“With the cost of living increasing in Victoria, households are looking for ways to reduce the cost of their bills,” she said.
“Causing thousands of consumers to potentially be disqualified from the premium solar tariff feed-in scheme is closing an avenue for Victorian families to reduce their electricity bills.
“If the Baillieu Government was serious about reducing daily costs for families this scheme would still be in place.
“Why has Mr O’Brien waited five months after he shut down the scheme to let consumers know?
“It is the Minister’s job to protect consumers against unfair practices, but who will protect Victorians against the unfair practices of the Minister?”