Queensland residents who have invested in solar panels will not face any extra charges in the latest Government’s budget. Energy Minister Mark McArdle has ruled out changes to the current feed in tariff rates, however has called for debate on whether the 44 cent tariff is fair for all Queenslanders.

Rapidly increasing electricity prices have been cause for concern by the Newman Government, with Premier Campbell Newman vowing to rein in on “mind-blowing, excessive” price increases. With increases to the regulated tariff, electricity bills for many “typical” Queensland households will rise 22.6 per cent, increasing the annual power spend by $267, whilst increasing the bill for an average family of four by $343 a year.

Whilst the Newman Government has criticised solar schemes for price increases, opposition leader Annastacia Palaszczuk has said people should not be penalised for investing in solar when the 44 cent kilowatt hour feed in tariff was available. Palaszczuk commented that the Government wants to “move the goalposts”. Whilst there are yet to be any changes to the feed in tariff, Newman said he wants to debate over the feed in tariff. There has been a speculated “voter backlash” from disgruntled solar users if the Government changes the feed-in-tariff.

Electricity increases have been a major cause for concern for residents, with over 31,000 Queenslanders having signed the “One Big Switch” campaign, smashing the Goal of 20,000 by June 28th.  One Big Switch is a consumer led campaign attempting to bring down the costs of electricity through greater group negotiation power. Solar Citizens “Stop QLD solar discrimination” petition has also gained 2,987 signatures from its goal of 4000.

The Courier-Mail reported that 92,600 Queensland households pay nothing for power or get money back as a result of the generous solar feed-in tariff of 44c kWh introduced by the previous government.  The Newman Government has slashed the benefit for new solar panel installations to 8c.