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Energy Networks Association was quoted this week bemoaning the increasing number of people with rooftop solar and the lower price these off-gridders pay for electricity network prices as “fundamentally unfair”.

ENA has entirely missed the point: consumers ARE reacting to price signals from the energy sector with high prices over the last decade mainly driven by over-investment in the poles and wires, according to Rod Sims of the ACCC. Where were the calls for “fairness” then?

By investing in their own generation, these consumers are trying to get costs under control and get independence from the biggest cost driver in the last decade the electricity network.

In the system transformation ahead of us, we need to make sure no one is left behind and that means keeping an eye on who is left with the cost of funding the electricity network. But the characterisation of winners and losers is wrong headed: consumers want prices to come down far enough that, as we transition to more cost-reflective pricing, we all end up winners.

Think harder ENA!

This article was published on Australian Financial Review on 7 June 2018.

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