An energy ’death spiral’ could result in electricity prices skyrocketing as more consumers go ‘off-grid’

AN ENERGY “death spiral” could result in electricity prices skyrocketing further as some customers tear up large bills in favour of using their own solar and battery power.

A Senate committee examining the management of electricity networks has found bill shock will become even more shocking for some unlucky customers as improving technology allows other customers to go “off-grid”.

A report prepared by the Environment and Communications References Committee said it was increasingly likely more and more customers would generate their own electricity in the future as technology improves solar and battery power, leaving fewer customers to foot the bill for the growing and expensive electricity network.

“Electricity prices, largely driven by network costs, have risen significantly while the demand for electricity has declined,” the report says.

“This had led to concern about a death spiral; that is, high prices are causing demand to decline while also encouraging consumers and businesses to engage in their own generation activities. Remaining customers would be required to pay an increasing share of the network costs.”

With more than one million solar power systems already on roofs and emerging battery storage technology allowing homes to store their own solar power, we could see an even more dramatic behaviour shift.

The report recommended an urgent investigation into electricity production, asking state governments to “prioritise efforts” to focus on whether networks are properly anticipating more and more customers going “off-grid”.

Meanwhile, the committee is still considering allegations of price rorting by electricity company Energex.

The inquiry was sparked by an Energex whistleblower’s revelations published in The Courier-Mail last year that it looked into manipulating data to target a higher rate of return.

Complete article with video was posted on The Courier Mail linked here

This entry was posted in Energex, Smart grid, Smart Meter, Solar and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to An energy ’death spiral’ could result in electricity prices skyrocketing as more consumers go ‘off-grid’

  1. Phillip Kahle says:

    One reason why they want the International Carbon Credit Control Grid.

  2. Anonymous says:

    One of my neighbors has no electricity, it is her choice. About two years ago i spoke to the meter reader and he told me that she was still receiving bills even though she did not use any power. He could not understand this, either could i. This lady has also completely blocked the meter box, its a long story. What i have found out recently is she still has too pay the supply charge whether she uses power or not. This makes sense, if you go on holiday for a few months you would still have to pay the supply charge even though you have not used any electricity.
    I have no idea what this woman has done in regards to the supply charge as she lives in a unit. The other unit would have to be supplied with power..

    • Anonymous says:

      Question. Is this woman physically disconnected from the grid or is she still connected but not using ie. switching it off in her meter box ?

      Doesn’t make sense to be paying supply if you are not being supplied

      • Anonymous says:

        She can’t be disconnected from the grid she lives in a unit the other unit has power. She boarded up her meter box with wood, i have no idea what else she has done as you can;t talk to her.I heard she pulled out the smart meter. This might not be true. She does not like to talk to anyone and she also has no water and gas.
        You can;t talk to this woman and i am not going to ask questions.Perhaps they have disconnected her from the grid and just supply power to the other unit. I am not sure.

        • John M says:

          @Anonymous
          If she has any sort of health care card she shouldn’t be charged service charges that exceed her power use. This is from the DHS Vic site under the various energy concessions sections.

          “Service to Property Charge Concession
          The Service to Property Charge Concession concession provides a discount on the electricity service charge where a household has very low electricity usage. The usage charge must be less than the service charge. The discount reduces the service charge to the cost of the total electricity usage for the billing period.

          This concession is available all year round. The electricity retailer will automatically apply the concession on bills where the customer is eligible.”

          So I take that to effectively mean once you use zero you pay zero.

  3. Rik says:

    With the stupid prices of power these days I’m surprised more and more people aren’t getting solar and disconnecting from the stupid grid.
    Smart meters dont work, they cost a lot more to set up and maintain than old meters, the cost actually goes up not down and there are so many problems its just not worth it in the long run. And with EHS lots of people are forced to move interstate or forced to lock up their meterboxes so they dont get a stupid meter.
    As I’m renting I cant get solar so I got batteries and my bills still go up. They are supposed to go down but the price keeps going up stopping any savings.
    Really makes me want to move out, buy a house and get solar power so I can actually save money and put that savings towards the house instead of the power companies pockets.

    • Jason says:

      There are cheap houses available if you’re prepared to move out of the big smoke, and these days solar-systems are so cheap I’m amazed many more aren’t taking up the options you suggest. eg. I paid $13.8o per watt for second-hand panels in the early 1980s ~ and today you can get technologically better new panels for about 75CENTS per watt. Incidentally, the original ones I bought are still producing at about 80% of their rating……there’s not much that can do that after 30-odd years.

    • Jason says:

      ps. Unless your landlord actually refuses permission there’s no reason you can’t have a system put on the roof ~ or elsewhere……And take them with you if you leave.

  4. Paul says:

    An answer: put the electricity grid back into the hands of the state government. That way there’ll be no more money-hungry, greedy executives of power companies who spend all their time devising ways to rip off their customers in order to satisfy their equally greedy overseas bosses.

    Anyway, the existing system is a doomed monster, so a hearty applause for all those who are lucky enough to rid themselves off the grid.

    • Jason says:

      Yeah right. Then we’ll only have money-hungry, greedy politicians and bureaucrats ~ including tax-collectors ~ “who spend all their time devising ways to rip off their [idiot] customers”.
      Self-sufficiency is the only real ~ and these days VERY affordable ~ way to go. The only commitment is that a tax on sunlight (quite on the cards) will provoke a revolution.

  5. Karen Adler says:

    Unfortunately, solar panels on my roof contributed considerably to my EHS (electrohypersensitivity) Solar enabled ‘dirty electricity’ – ie poor power quality over the elec wires by causing spikes in the voltage in the radio frequency range.
    The joint aches and sleeplessness that resulted was profound. So the panels now sit on my roof – doing sweet nothing – as I have turned solar OFF.
    I AWAIT the day when renewable/green = good health. Solar and wind farms cause BIG HEALTH PROBLEMS.

    • Anonymous says:

      Karen this is going to be a big problem with people that have EHS. Also poor people and people that rent will not have access to solar power. Even if solar panels solved everything they would find a way to get money off people. This will happen in the future as they can’t recoup all costs from people that don’t have solar panels. They will probaly apply a fee or tax to homes with solar panels. They need to make profits.

    • Jason says:

      I’ve been involved with solar power for over 30 years and can’t accept what you claim.
      For one thing, solar panels produce Direct Current, which doesn’t operate at ANY ‘frequency’.
      If one were as sensitive as you say you are one would wire one’s house for ONLY DC, (solar/wind/batteries) and forego any us of AC power such as that produced from generators/inverters.

      That said, I make the point that Australia has the resources to provide an endless amount of hydro-power, which has the benefit (unlike solar/wind/others) of not requiring storage. But that would require distribution in AC, so wouldn’t help your problem at all.

      • Solar Affected says:

        I, also, was badly affected by our solar system. It’s actually the inverter which is the culprit. Converting a DC wave form into an AC wave is not a seamless process and frequencies, going into the lower end of the RF spectrum, are created. These frequencies are broadcast via the building’s wiring as well as through the air and Earth. The extent of the problem varies with different inverters. The way the system is wired in also seems to play a role. At the time I encountered the problem (in 2010) there seemed to be very little known about it, but thankfully, there is a lot more awareness now. It took ages to work out. Our inverter also effectively prevented metal detectors from being used over the hill from our property, due to the interference caused by the RF. We found the stetzerizer filters were a very good solution for us. However, in some isolated cases, where a building has ‘unbalanced’ wiring (eg if there is current flowing via a metal water pipe) usage of the filters can cause massive magnetic fields. This occurred at a friend’s unit. So, I think it’s important that one has the right meters to be able to test what is going on.

    • Lyle says:

      Karen just wondering if you in any way attempted to mitigate any solar enabled dirty electricity such as, well, maybe things like stetzerizer filters plugged into your power points. I’m not sure what other options there are but…….

  6. mrjonmoore says:

    The electricity companies and the owners of poles and wires must be terrified. Watch out for legislation like they have in the States banning off grid options.

    • Paul says:

      Could you please provide a link regarding that legislation? It looks ominous and I wouldn’t put it past this state government to legislate against any off-grid option.

    • Anonymous says:

      The people paid for and built the poles and wires. We did not give permission for these poles and wires to be sold.

    • Jason says:

      Funny you should say that: just this morning I had reason to remember the tricks the poms got up to to avoid paying the ‘TV tax’. Such as hiding the aerial inside the roof, etc.
      But it’s a real risk. Already we have to pay water and sewerage ‘rates’ whether we want/have a need for them at all. (and in some places household water tanks have been banned.)

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s