Halving of the Residential Net Feed-in Tariff

What they promised

‘you will continue to receive 40c/kWh for the net export of electricity for the full term of your 10 year contract’

- Important information regarding the Residential Net Feed-in Tariff subsidy – Synergy

What they say now

‘From 1 October 2013, the customer payment will reduce to 30c/kWh ….a further reduction to 20 cents will occur from 1 July 2014’

- Budget Paper 3, p 162

28 Aug 2013 - In the State Budget it was revealed that from July 1 2014 the Barnett Government would slash the amount it pays back to customers who export electricity back to the grid from 40 cents per unit to only 20 cents per unit.

75,000 costumers were affected by the decision of the Barnett Government to halve the amount of money that they would pay to customers who had signed a contract for the Residential Net Feed-in Tariff subsidy. Customer had been promised 40 cents per unit for a period of 10 years.   

Western Australians signed up to the feed-in tariff scheme in good faith and Synergy wrote to participants assuring them that the scheme would remain in place for the next 10 years. Important information regarding the Residential Net Feed-in Tariff subsidy – Synergy

When announcing the decision the Barnett Government said that they had obtained legal advice that indicated they had the capacity to change the terms of the contract. However, information contained in the Ministerial provided to the Minister for Energy Mike Nahan from the Department of Finance contradicted this.  

In the Ministerial a number of issues were raised including:

The reduction in the Scheme rate is likely to result in significant public criticism. Additionally, the State Solicitor’s Office has identified legal risks associated with reducing the Scheme rate. Ministerial Feed-in Tariff Scheme Changes

Four days later the Barnett Government reversed its decision.

This was in response to a public backlash against the decision and a call from the Leader of the Opposition Mark McGowan for members of the community to attend Parliament on the 13 August when the issue would be raised by WA Labor as a matter of public importance in the Legislative Assembly.