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What do I need to clarify from my electricity retailer?

There are a few questions you need to ask / seek clarifications on from your electricity retailer, when you install a solar system. Usually your solar system installation company knows the answer to most of these already. So ask them as well. A few of the key questions are given below:

  1. What is the cost of the electricity you purchase from the electricity retailer right now (in cents per kW/h)? (Usually you can find this information on the back of your electricity bill).
  2. Will I lose my off-peak rates once my meter has been changed? Will this be replaced with a time-of-use (TOU) tariff? How will this affect me financially?
  3. What is the feed-in tariff rate provided by the electricity retailer and it there a local retailer that pays a higher feed-in tariff?
  4. What will be the form of payment for electricity you produce? Will you receive the feed-in tariff’s you earn by default as a credit on your electricity bill or as cash payable via direct deposit or a cheque?
  5. If you sign up with a new energy retailer, are there any penalty clauses (termination costs)?
  6. What are the billing / payment periods?
  7. Are there any other administration fees?
  8. Do you organise all the necessary metering changes or will the solar installation company do it for you? (Quality install companies normally organise meter change over as part of the system install)

If yes

  1. Will your new meter continue to measure off-peak power use?
  2. Is your new meter a gross meter or a net meter (nowadays it’s mainly net metering)?
  3. What is the cost of your meter?
  4. Is it supplied free of charge?
  5. Is there an upfront cost?
  6. Is the cost recovered through increased network charges on your monthly electricity bill?
  7. What is the cost of installing your meter?
  8. Is it already included in your solar power system cost?