RISING BILLS: Infinity Solar Mackay store manager Andrew White and sales manager Sue Brazier have rejected a State Government claim that solar power is increasing electricity bills.
RISING BILLS: Infinity Solar Mackay store manager Andrew White and sales manager Sue Brazier have rejected a State Government claim that solar power is increasing electricity bills. Contributed

Company believes solar bonus 'an easy scapegoat'

A MACKAY company has hit back at a State Government claim that solar power bonuses are to blame for rising electricity prices.

Infinity Solar director Chris Thomson said electricity infrastructure and network costs were the real culprit driving up power prices.

Mr Thomson estimated the two factors added $127 a year to the average Mackay resident's power bill.

"Queensland's power grid is operating on inadequate infrastructure and is suffering from a lack of spending over previous years, meaning updating the network is going to cost Mackay residents money," he said.

"Solar power is an easy scapegoat for the government, when in fact the government funded feed-in tariff is only adding $32 to an average household bill."

He said electricity network costs accounted for almost half of a standard electricity bill at 48.2%.

"Energex spent $900 million last financial year on the network and Ergon spent $300 million," Mr Thomson said.

"The solar feed-in tariff only cost $50 million, so it is completely misleading of the government to blame solar power.

"People also need to keep in mind that solar power is not just a financial issue but is a necessary tool in helping reduce Australia's carbon emissions and increase environmental sustainability."

Energy Minister Mark McArdle said advice received from the Queensland Competition Authority identified the Federal Government's Renewable Energy Target Scheme and Solar Bonus Scheme as the main culprits behind rising power bills across the state.

"The overly generous solar bonus scheme gave significant cash windfalls to those customers who installed solar panels on domestic roofs, but the scheme did not pass on the real costs to the electricity network, to support solar power," McArdle said.

"It is not right that the 80% of customers who do not have solar are expected to pay the full price of the 20% who have solar.

"The Newman Government will not be changing this, but will consider a range of options to make the system more equitable for the majority of consumers."



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