Solar users criticise LNP's 'discrimination'

An Australian-wide group called Solar Citizens has emerged to represent the views of solar energy users and protest against governments attacking those who use it.

Queensland's Energy Minister Mark McArdle has proposed a new tariff for solar energy users, which Solar Citizens manager Geoff Evans describes as "discrimination".

Since May 13, Solar Citizens has signed up 8000 members, of which 2750 are in Queensland.

Janet Dearden is a Queensland "Solar Citizen" who lives in Buderim on the Sunshine Coast and has used solar power since 2009.

Ms Dearden is still on the old 44 cent per kilowatt rebate to sell electricity back to the grid.

She said plans to add a fixed charge for solar energy users were wrong.

"They want to penalise people who have got solar and therefore don't use as much electricity," she said.

"It's a bit like penalising people who go to the supermarket and don't spend a lot on their groceries, or people who go to the garage and don't buy as much fuel," she said.

"Are we going to charge them more for not spending very much? It is basically scapegoating people who have got solar."

She disagreed that solar power was only used by "rich Greens".

The Solar Citizens group says solar power "ownership is concentrated amongst low-to-medium income earning households in regional and outer metropolitan areas".

Fairfax Media was unable to independently verify that claim on Monday night.

Mr Evans, a New South Wales resident, wrote to Queensland Premier Campbell Newman on May 31 questioning his government's energy policy.

He has asked for a response by June 19.

In particular, he asked why Mr McArdle told journalists in December that there would be no fixed charge on solar users but last week changed his mind.

"That is nothing short of discrimination against families who have moved to solar to reduce their costs," he said.

Mr McArdle has said Queensland's former 44 cents per kilowatt hour solar feed-in tariff made electricity free for some solar users. The feed-in tariff is now eight cents per kilowatt hour.

"The perverse outcome is 92,000 homes don't pay any power bills at all," Mr McArdle said.

"I don't believe that was the intent of the scheme and a debate must be had about who should pay what in regard to their power bills when you consider that a large number of people pay no power bill at all."

The story Solar users criticise LNP's 'discrimination' first appeared on Brisbane Times.

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