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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 29 June 2010) . . Page.. 2705 ..

MR SPEAKER: Ms Gallagher, don’t interrupt. Ms Hunter, you have the floor.

Energy—feed-in tariff

MS HUNTER: My question is to the Minister for Energy and is in regard to the operation of the Electricity Feed-in (Renewable Energy Premium) Act 2008. Minister, are you aware that customers are being asked by ActewAGL to sign feed-in tariff contracts that indicate the effective end of the contract if the feed-in tariff legislation is repealed and are you concerned by this?

MR CORBELL: I thank Ms Hunter for the question. I was not aware of those allegations prior to Ms Hunter raising them, but if she can provide me with further information, I would be very happy to look into the matter.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Hunter, a supplementary question?

MS HUNTER: Minister, was it the government’s intention that 20-year contracts that had been signed by electricity generators could be rendered invalid if a future government were to repeal the electricity feed-in act 2008? And what has the government done to ensure that ActewAGL reflects this intention in their contracts?

MR CORBELL: The legislation is quite clear. Contracts entered into under the feed-in tariff legislation are binding commercial contracts between the generator and the electricity retailer for a period of 20 years and any rescission of those contracts is a legal matter between two parties. But what is quite clear in relation to the legislation is that the legislation guarantees payments for a 20-year period and there is a legal obligation that retailers are under when entering into such contracts.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Le Couteur, a supplementary?

MS LE COUTEUR: Thank you. Minister, are you aware that in order to retrieve your payments from ActewAGL for electricity generated through the feed-in tariff you have to ring up ActewAGL after each account turns up to retrieve your payment?

MR CORBELL: How payments are made is a matter between the generator and the electricity retailer. Electricity generators—households with PV on their roof, for example—need to enter into those arrangements with the electricity retailer on terms acceptable to both parties. The legislation does not specify the other terms of the contract beyond the fact that payments must be guaranteed for a 20-year period at the rate set under the legislation. All other matters in relation to the contract are between the retailer and the generator. As in any contract, generators need to exercise caution and make sure they are familiar with and understand the terms of the contract they are entering into.

MS BRESNAN: Minister, what will you do to ensure that the concerns about the implementation of the feed-in tariff by the ACT’s largest electricity retailer are resolved as soon as possible to provide certainty and convenience to renewable electricity generators in the ACT?

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