Saturday Feb 04, 2023

Locked out of solar, Rosemary found a green power deal. But advocates say they can be hard to navigate – ABC News


After spending more time at home during the pandemic, Rosemary Marcon noticed just how cold her Melbourne townhouse was and set about trying to make her home as energy-efficient as possible. 

Along with new insulation and double-glazed windows, she hoped to get off gas and switch to electric heating, powered by rooftop solar panels.

But those plans were thwarted when she was told her roof was too small.

“It just kind of blew all the plans apart,” Ms Marcon said.

Still keen to help the environment and pay a competitive rate, she researched how she could access renewable energy through her electricity retailer.

It is called green power, and it gives consumers the option of signing a deal where a retailer purchases energy from renewable sources.

Ms Marcon said it could be hard to understand how it works.

Rosemary Marcon was told her roof was too small to install solar panels.(ABC News: Patrick Stone)

“It’s all going into the grid and so you don’t get to choose exactly what electricity comes to your house, but in terms of what I’m paying for, I’m paying for 100 per cent renewable energy,” Ms Marcon said.

But she said it was not easy to find a deal.

“The information is kind of scattered all over the place,” Ms Marcon said.

“It seems like it’s way behind in terms of where the population’s at, in terms of what it wants and needs.

“I’m retired and I’ve got time, but for a lot of people, they don’t.

“And so they’re just going with the easiest option [for their bill] and wanting to do more, but not knowing how to or knowing where to go to get it.”

Green power price ‘dispersion’

As electricity prices rise, advocates like Gavin Dufty from the St Vincent de Paul Society are worried that people who can not install rooftop solar will be unfairly impacted by rising power costs.

Rooftop solar generation can act as a buffer for rising electricity costs for households.

But, for a range of reasons, plenty of people cannot install solar. Ms …….


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