Homeowner-generated electricity payment lower

Meridian Energy has revealed the size of the cut it intends making in payments for electricity generated by homeowners with photo voltaic panels on their roofs.

Responding to Otago Daily Times inquiries, Meridian business development manager Richard Little said the state-owned enterprise plans to offer grid-tied homeowners 25c per kWh for "around" the first 100kWh per month they produce, and 10c kWh after that.

Letters will be sent to customers "within the next few weeks".

Until now, Meridian has been the only power company offering a 1:1 rate - buying electricity at the same price [25c per kWh] it retails electricity at.

Ian Buchan of Power Options, Dunedin, who has been installing photo voltaic panels in New Zealand for 24 years, says the catch for homeowners in Meridian's plan is the monthly limit which will be easily surpassed.

"A 2kW array in Dunedin will produce, say, an annual daily average 8kWh or 240kWh per month."

He believed for the installation of photo voltaic panels to remain attractive in New Zealand, the limit needed to be at least twice that suggested by Meridian.

Mr Buchan said homeowners who were not using electricity at home during the day would be disadvantaged because much of what they produced would be exported during the day at the 10c per kWh rate while electricity bought back from Meridian at night would cost the 25c per kWh.

"It's a bit tricky. You have really got to look into the ins and outs of it and how you are going to utilise the electricity you are generating."

Although the change was likely to affect only about a dozen Otago home owners, Mr Buchan said inquiries about photo voltaic panels "had picked up phenomenally" in the year.

Mr Little said "much greater public interest" in rooftop photo voltaic panels had led to Meridian experiencing "a significant financial loss with the 1:1 pricing".

The existing rate meant Meridian was paying homeowners for their electricity and also the charges related to its transmission.

"Simply, it does not make sense for Meridian to pay a customer a large chunk of costs relating to network charges."

- mark.price@odt.co.nz


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