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epr



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Topic # 225634 27-Nov-2017 19:22
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Hey I have just had solar panels installed and I am wondering if my power company will let me switch to a low user rate. I am guessing maybe not as they will now be buying some power back off me but if anyone has a good idea then I would appreciate a heads up.

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  Reply # 1908631 27-Nov-2017 19:24
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I think you need to direct this question at your power company


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  Reply # 1908635 27-Nov-2017 19:28
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So , have you had a second meter installed to allow you to "export" power?

Until this happens all your power will just lower your bill, getting your meter to go "backwards" don't exist with smart meters

 
 
 
 


epr



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  Reply # 1908637 27-Nov-2017 19:33
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Yes I have had my new smart meter installed about a month ago

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  Reply # 1908683 27-Nov-2017 21:03
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Hi, Low user consumption option shouldn't be related to solar (DG) export. It's mostly retailer & network related.

Just remember both your consumption tariff unit & fixed daily charge between standard & low user rates.

Source: I work for one of the big energy retailers.

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  Reply # 1908717 27-Nov-2017 22:10
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Assuming that you are able to directly use a good chunk of your solar generated power. Your imported power would probably drop enough that switching to low user will be worthwhile. Especially as solar combined with low user rates is an indirect solar subsidy.





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  Reply # 1908719 27-Nov-2017 22:29
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With the recent reduction in power prices that you only ever see by changing retailers it may make more sense to change retailer rather than just move to the low user tarrif.





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  Reply # 1908743 28-Nov-2017 06:54
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Aredwood: Assuming that you are able to directly use a good chunk of your solar generated power. Your imported power would probably drop enough that switching to low user will be worthwhile. Especially as solar combined with low user rates is an indirect solar subsidy.


No, it's not. 

That's like saying the lack of road user fees on people who walk to work is a "subsidy" for people who don't drive cars to work. In a word: bizarre.  

It's paying a low rate because you're using a low rate. You'd pay the same low rate if you didn't import much power and you had no solar panels. 






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  Reply # 1908746 28-Nov-2017 07:12
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I'm not sure solar prices are low enough to be worth it yet. The panels aren't bad, but the electronics and installation seem expensive.





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  Reply # 1908797 28-Nov-2017 08:09
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Linuxluver:

 

Aredwood: Assuming that you are able to directly use a good chunk of your solar generated power. Your imported power would probably drop enough that switching to low user will be worthwhile. Especially as solar combined with low user rates is an indirect solar subsidy.


No, it's not. 

That's like saying the lack of road user fees on people who walk to work is a "subsidy" for people who don't drive cars to work. In a word: bizarre.  

It's paying a low rate because you're using a low rate. You'd pay the same low rate if you didn't import much power and you had no solar panels. 


 

 

I agree with Andrew. Re your analogy with walking to work, thats not using the road, its using the footpath, which I assumed is maintained by the council and not the transport authority

 

When a normal user changes to a low user plan as they have Solar PV, that places pressure on pricing as the ratio between normal and low is artificially distorted, as the new low users are still actually normal users, but using less of the grid. Pressure increases on prices to recover that, as the costs of the generator and provider are largely the same, but with less revenue to call on. prices for low and normal user rise, but the Solar PV guy now on a low user plan is still better off, the normal user who is totally innocent, is paying more because of the Solar PV guy. Basically picking up the Solar PV guys tab, funding his savings.

 

If power generation and supply were a state run asset with no requirement to make a profit, then solar can be encouraged, which benefits the environment, lowers installation costs, and reduces future capex for generation. Everyone is a winner. But that wont happen as its not desirable for the provider. Solar PV currently encourages price increases to all users.


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  Reply # 1908799 28-Nov-2017 08:12
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timmmay:

 

I'm not sure solar prices are low enough to be worth it yet. The panels aren't bad, but the electronics and installation seem expensive.

 

 

Agree. It needs to be used. Winter, we need it more, but generation drops due to sun angle and less sun, in Summer we use less, but we generate more when its not needed. Batteries are the answer but they cost an arm and half a leg and are still too small


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  Reply # 1908816 28-Nov-2017 09:30
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We have solar and are on low-user tariff. Our power company is Electric Kiwi so we don't get paid for the power we export. Aggressive use of the "Hour of Power" more than makes up for the few dollars we made by selling back to our previous company.


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  Reply # 1908817 28-Nov-2017 09:37
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Linuxluver:
No, it's not. 

That's like saying the lack of road user fees on people who walk to work is a "subsidy" for people who don't drive cars to work. In a word: bizarre.  

It's paying a low rate because you're using a low rate. You'd pay the same low rate if you didn't import much power and you had no solar panels. 

 

I don't want to get into an argument but misinformation like this needs to stop, because it will give people who spend $$ on solar power the wrong idea, then in 2-3 years when the whole regime of lines charges does an about face and they realise they are not saving anywhere near as much money anymore they will be quite upset.

 

Someone that is able to use solar power so they get into the economic window to benefit from the low user subsidy are absolutely being subsidised by the people paying standard rates. The low user subsidy was designed to allow people on lower incomes to have a bit of a reduction in their power bill because they already had an incentive to use less power due to not being able to afford it. It is all around how the local network/lines company gathers its revenue to cover the cost of building the network to supply from the national grid to your house.

 

The lines companies have to build their network to be able to supply enough power for that 1 minute in the middle of winter at 6pm when everyone in your neighbourhood is at their maximum consumption. The lines charge portion of the daily and per kW fees are designed to spread this over the users so that each user pays their fair share of the cost of building and maintaining the network. The low user tariff skews this so that the heavier users pay a bit more for the lines infrastructure than the low users. Which on paper sounded like a good idea (more use over a year should mean more infrastructure required aye?) but now with solar installations (along with the often used example of people who own baches) the reality is completely different

 

Effectively someone with solar (without batteries) is a low user during the hours of daylight but when the sun goes down they are a normal user. Same with someone who owns a bach, low user for 300 days a year and normal user for the other 65. The strain on the network for that 1 min of peak demand in the middle of winter at 6pm in the majority of cases has not changed pre and post solar install. But they get the benefit of a lower daily charge which doesn't allow the network company to fully re-coop the cost of providing the infrastructure to that house. Instead the rest of the population picks up the tab.

 

However, changes are in motion. The government is reviewing the retail market and it seems almost certain the low user tariff go (although I am yet to hear any speculation over what will replace it). It is also looking likely that within the next 3-4 years the whole structure of retail electricity billing will change. The per kw rate could drop significantly with the proliferation of smart meters and time of use billing. We could see sub 5c per kWh during sunny days in summer and with the daily fee increasing significantly ($2/$3/$4 who knows???). To the average user there will be minimal effect to their annual bill, but someone with solar could end up paying very close to the same as they did before installing solar.


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  Reply # 1908830 28-Nov-2017 10:13
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The low user regulations are structured so that power companies are not allowed to offer non low user plans that have cheaper prices than the low user plans. For people who use less than 8000 units per year.

Lines companies are also only allowed to charge just 15c per day to low user customers. Which nowhere near covers the cost of meeting peak demand.

They also cause lots of unnecessary carbon emissions. As if you are on a low user plan. The artificially high unit costs mean that you can make big cost savings by switching from electric to gas hot water.

It unfairly hurts a lot of low income people, who can only use electric resistance heating. So their power usage puts them over the low user limit. Also low income people often live in larger households, so high rents get spread over more people. More people in 1 house means more power usage. Again more likely to be over the limit.

Why should low income people be forced to pay more for their power, so rich people make bigger savings from solar?





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  Reply # 1908848 28-Nov-2017 10:42
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Aredwood: Why should low income people be forced to pay more for their power, so rich people make bigger savings from solar?

 

This is the type of distortion that occurs when Governments enforce subsidies via regulation.

 

The High/Low user regulations were introduced by the Labour Government in 2004. They explicitly assumed that low user = low income. Even after being told that their assumption was wrong for many users, they insisted on proceeding anyway. The result is a bunch of distortions that result in outcomes that are the opposite of what was intended (i.e. cheaper electricity for poorer people).


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  Reply # 1908872 28-Nov-2017 10:49
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Ouranos:

 

Aredwood: Why should low income people be forced to pay more for their power, so rich people make bigger savings from solar?

 

This is the type of distortion that occurs when Governments enforce subsidies via regulation.

 

The High/Low user regulations were introduced by the Labour Government in 2004. They explicitly assumed that low user = low income. Even after being told that their assumption was wrong for many users, they insisted on proceeding anyway. The result is a bunch of distortions that result in outcomes that are the opposite of what was intended (i.e. cheaper electricity for poorer people).

 

 

It was probably a reasonable assumption back then. While there may also be well paid low users (travel a lot, eat out a lot) it still allowed lower income people to benefit if they can be a low user. For many years now, solar has gotten in the way, it should have been reviewed years ago.


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