Page 1781 - Week 06 - Thursday, 30 July 2020

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Amendments agreed to.

Bill, as a whole, as amended, agreed to.

Bill, as amended, agreed to.

Electricity Feed-in (Renewable Energy Premium) Amendment Bill 2020

Debate resumed from 4 June 2020, on motion by Mr Rattenbury:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MS LEE (Kurrajong) (4.43): The ACT Legislative Assembly has a consistent record of tripartisan agreement on the issue of renewable energy, and has done so for some years, despite the best efforts of some of those opposite, who have tried to spruik misleading assertions to the contrary. The ACT is in a unique and privileged position to be able to deliver 100 per cent renewable electricity and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, and the Canberra Liberals, over the course of this Assembly, have continuously shown their support for that commitment.

The Electricity Feed-in (Renewable Energy Premium) Amendment Bill 2020 is the result of the Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability’s audit of Evoenergy’s reporting of data on the territory’s feed-in tariff scheme, which he called for in February last year. Concerns about the accuracy and reliability of the data had been an ongoing issue for some time, and we on this side of the chamber had also raised our concerns. The scheme, which closed to new participants in 2011, pays home owners for the electricity they feed into the network from their rooftop solar panels, with different rates per kilowatt hour for small, medium and large-scale generation. However, it appears that some solar systems had been recorded in the wrong size categories.

Larger systems attract a bigger tariff under the scheme, so if larger customers were put into a smaller category they were being paid at a lesser rate, while the reverse could be true for small systems put in a larger category. In briefings, we were advised by officials that the financial impost was estimated to be in the vicinity of two to three cents per bill per affected customer. This bill sets out to implement some of the recommendations of the 2019 audit and the 2018 review of the original act.

The bill seeks to ensure that sufficient data is supplied to government by Evoenergy for annual reporting purposes and to allow distributors to pass on reasonable costs of administering the scheme. We have been advised that ensuring that correct data is supplied will address the estimated 110 to 120 of 10,500 customers who may have been incorrectly charged or paid. The bill also allows electricity distributors to pass on to eligible entities the administration costs incurred in meeting their obligations under the act, with the maximum amount to be determined by the minister.

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