Company seeks protection against solar developers

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An increase in tariff will ensure Energy Fiji Ltd (EFL) is protected from being exploited by the rooftop solar developers. Picture: FILE

An increase in tariff will ensure Energy Fiji Ltd (EFL) is protected from being exploited by the rooftop solar developers, stated EFL in its submission to the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission (FCCC).

EFL is asking for a tariff increase of around 32 per cent over the next four years.

“Due to the advent of rooftop solar in Fiji, what we have experienced is that most of the customers with rooftop solar treat EFL as their natural backup 24/7,” states the EFL.

“Should all these customers go on this model and put up their rooftop solar, then the EFL power system can become redundant one day.

“Further, from experience with other countries that received incentive for rooftop solar installation, it is only those with high incomes that have the money that invest in rooftop solar in anticipation of the power savings that they will get.

“Again, if all the high income users migrate and install their solar rooftop, the burden of who pays for the huge maintenance cost required to maintain the power grid could potentially fall to low income earners.

“With a reduced customer base and the remaining users expected to be low-income earners, then any tariff increase to cover the cost of maintenance will see these low income earners receiving high tariff increase since the high-income earners have reverted to installing their standalone roof top solar system.

“Lastly, with a higher volume of customer migrating to rooftop solar, and then they sell any surplus energy back to the EFL grid, this will require the power grid to be upgraded at a huge cost to cater for the injection of this additional energy into the power grid.

“For the above reasons and to ensure that EFL is protected from being exploited by the rooftop solar developers, EFL is strongly proposing that a fixed and variable charge tariff be introduced to safeguard EFL technically and financially, particularly so the burden of cost does not fall to low-income earners.”

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