Media release: New laws to put big energy profits ahead of the customer


Media Release

25 March 2021

RedEarth Energy Storage Founders – Charles Walker CEO (L), Chris Winter CTO (R)

The maker of Australia’s only locally-designed and made household solar battery has slammed a proposal to allow big energy companies to charge households for providing clean, green energy to the national grid.

The Australian Energy Market Commission’s (AEMC) draft determination released today recommends removing the ban on energy companies charging households for energy exported to the grid.

RedEarth Energy Storage chief executive Charlie Walker warned that charging Australians with rooftop solar panels to export electricity to the grid would be a devastating blow to the environment, the solar industry and household budgets.

Mr Walker said the move threatened to rip off Australian families while fattening up big energy companies’ profits.

“The notion that big energy companies will do the right thing by their customers is fanciful,” Mr Walker said.

“The big energy companies simply don’t like that mums and dads can sell excess power back into the grid. Thousands of Australian families have done the right thing by the environment and invested in solar and now they risk being charged for it.

“This sets a dangerous precedent after governments have been encouraging households to turn to solar for decades.

“It shouldn’t be up to mums and dads with solar panels on their roofs to fix the problems of the poles and wires owned by power companies. If there’s a problem with a solar panel, families can’t charge power companies to come and fix it.

“More solar energy is being produced than ever before and energy companies should be investing in their electricity grid to increase capacity for the future instead of blocking households from making a buck through sustainability.

“There needs to be more incentives for Australians to make the switch to solar and battery, but this rule would be a deterrent.

“Stunting the growth of the solar and battery industries is no way to tackle the brutal environmental concerns like climate change.

“It also appears the AEMC has done no economic modelling on the impact this would have on jobs and businesses in the solar and battery industry.

“This is more ironic when homes can already make, use and store most of their own power without paying a small fortune to the large electricity companies.”

RedEarth chief technology officer Christopher Winter said solar and battery technology were advancing rapidly and energy companies needed to keep up.

“These companies need to stop living in the last century and start innovating and investing to keep up with new technology,” Mr Winter said.

“Solar and battery technology is becoming incredibly efficient, but you sadly can’t say the same thing about these energy companies.

“AEMC’s rule change will also create enormous confusion among users about whether they have to retrofit their system now or whether they will have to turn their whole system off at various time of day.

“Making rules to try and stop the inevitability of renewables is like King Canute commanding the incoming tide to stop. It won’t!”