The never-ending saga of attempting to receive the Victorian Premium feed-in tariff continues.
On Friday, we receive the second electricity bill since having the co-gen smart meter installed. The meter was installed on the 21st of January and I wrote about it in this post titled “I Have The Power… At Last“. Looking back, I was a bit ambitious to think that it was all over and that it was smooth sailing ahead.
The previous bill that was issued in April had a feed-in tariff of 23.5 cents in lieu of the 66 cents per Kwh that was expected. After all, I signed the agreement in December 2009 when the new Premium Feed-in Tariff was legislated. We were short a $250 credit! Kim called up our electricity retailer who blamed the wholesaler and expected it to be rectified in the next bill with the appropriate feed-in tariff applied with a credit. We let it slide for that quarter thinking that things would be fixed up for us. How wrong was I.
As I mentioned above, the bill for this quarter (April-June) arrived Friday past, and the was still listed at 23.5 cents. I nearly lost the plot! Straight on the phone to the retailer who instantly pointed the finger at the wholesaler, but admitted that the new tariff of 66 cents should have been applied to the bill from the 6th of April. I gave them a blast and asked for the bill to be reissued, which they agreed.
However, when I challenged the cut-over date of 6th April, because I was led to believe that the new feed-in tariff would be applied two weeks from the installation date of the meter, fingers were pointed back at the wholesaler. I asked for their phone number to sort things out. I am beginning to believe that the retailer, Origin Energy, did not want to pay me the Premium tariff, or wanted to make it difficult for someone to actually apply and receive it!
Anyway, I called up my wholesaler, Powercor. They confirmed that the meter was installed on the 21st of January, which I already knew because I was present at the installation, and that we should have received the new tariff about two weeks after installation. They told me to ask Origin to raise a Service Order to investigate further. All I wanted was the money that I believe that I am entitled to, which is about 6 weeks worth of feed-in tariff at the 66 cent rate.
So, I call back Origin, ask them to raise the Service Order to investigate, and let them know that if I do not get prompt resolution, I will take the matter up with the Energy Ombudsman as I have done so in the past. Shaking in their boots, they asked me to wait for the 10 days that Powercor have to reply, and they should be able to resolve my issue. I hope so, because quite frankly, is am pissed off with the whole affair. Being an advocate of renewable energy, I try and promote it where ever I can, however the electricity companies just make it so difficult. It should be bloody easy, and simple enough so that there is huge growth away from coal fired electricity generation. But who am I kidding? Both companies make swags of money burning coal, so why would they want to help the average Joe put renewables on their roof and become less dependent on their dirty electricity. Just not enough incentive for them if you ask me.
I will let you know how this folly pan out.
Tree Huggin Momma says
And our energy company just annouced a rate raise in September. People are complaining, but they are not willing to reduce their usage (turn down heat, set the AC temp higher or heaven forbid turn it off), they have excuses and excuses and excuses, but no one is doing a thing about it. You are an inspiration for clean energy and if I had the funds I would be putting on solar panels, but at the moment I don’t so I pay down my debt and dream of the day I can use that money to pay for a solar system that will partially provide my energy
I’m not particularly keen on grid feed systems. If you had stand alone you can really give the power companies the finger. I hope you get satisfaction soon, it really is disgraceful the way they have stuffed you around.
Darren (Green Change) says
I think it’s worth a letter to the Ombudsman (and the minister, and the CEOs of Origin and Powercor, and your local member, and the newspaper) once the whole thing is sorted out. Spell out all that you had to go through to get what you are entitled to by law. They need to know how badly this stuff is being handled.
At least it might result in both companies tightening up their procedures so future installations go more smoothly.
I agree with Darren. This website is a great way to let the world know how badly you’ve been treated, but I’m in Canada. I’ll happily scream at Enbridge or HydroOttawa, but I’ve never heard of PowerCor. You need to let your neighbourhood / town / state / country know about this. I wonder how many people in Australia went through the same thing, and were discouraged enough to quit.
This process was designed to be discouraging. Maybe it wasn’t deliberate, I don’t know. At the very least, they didn’t bother to put enough thought into it. And now you’re being punished for sticking to it. Again, maybe it’s not on purpose, maybe it’s just wilful blindness, or poor management. Next time you have to yell at them, ask them which it is. 😉
Can you clarify something for me? If the power company shut down for whatever reason – can you still use yur solar set up to produce and use your own energy? In other words does all this equipment work if the electricity is cut of? Cheers, Wendy
Thanks for the encouragement. I hope your dream comes true.
I tend to agree. I wish I had have forked out the extra $7000 for an off grid system. All this crap is just not worth the trouble.
Mate, I intended to do just that, using my blog posts as the basis for my letters. The more authorities that realise that this is going on, the better chance that the offending companies will be investigated.
Ditto as above. And you are right, I believe a badly designed process and crap management.
Unfortunately, mine is a grid-tied system that fails when I loose grid frequency. It is required by law in this country for the inverter to turn off when the grid is lost so that we don’t fry any linesmen trying to fix a grid fault.
Same for me…I signed the agreement in February (Origin) and my bill in april had the 23.5c tariff not the 66c one. They tell me it will be fixed this bill, but now I am thinking it may not. I’m short a $200 credit from the april bill! Sigh…this shouldn’t be this difficult.
I’ve also read complaints about smart meters adding the feed in to the total bill rather than subtracting it!
We just had our meter installed so I am looking forward to getting our first bill and comparing. If I can figure out how to read it.
Grr…My experience is pretty much the same as yours Gavin. The july bill arrived and GUESS WHAT? no premium feed in tariff again! I rang them again and they assure me they will rebill me. Now I am owed $250.