Customer dissatisfied he stopped receiving like-for-like solar credits and instead was offered 6.5 cents per kWh (May 2017)

Billing mistakes
Case Number 2017/325
Outcome Conciliation

The Issue

Mr L called EWOV dissatisfied that his electricity retailer had stopped applying the Standard Feed-in Tariff (SFiT) for solar generated and exported back to the grid. When he contacted his retailer, it advised him that he was no longer eligible to receive SFiT because the scheme had closed on 31 December 2016 and he was now entitled to 6.5 cents per kWh. Mr L said he installed solar because he believed that the SFiT would provide him a like-for-like rate (the same rate that he was charged for electricity) for the life of his solar system. He said he could provide proof that he had been provided this advice from the retailer.

In order to resolve the matter, Mr L contacted EWOV seeking that the retailer continues to apply SFiT to his account.

The Investigation

When Mr L contacted EWOV an Assisted Referral was lodged with the retailer, requiring a higher-level representative to contact him directly. Initially, the retailer disputed that it had to investigate this issue – advising it was a Victorian Government decision to close the SFiT scheme. EWOV advised that it could still provide the customer with information about his billing, clarity around the decision to end SFiT, and review Mr L’s assertion that he was offered SFiT for the life of his solar system.

Mr L requested further assistance from EWOV after he received an initial call from the retailer, but no follow up to resolve the complaint. EWOV escalated the complaint to an Investigation.

As part of the Investigation, EWOV reviewed the documents and information Mr L and the retailer provided. While the letter Mr L sent EWOV did include a ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ section that stated SFiT had no end date, it was provided before the Victorian Government’s announcement that the SFiT scheme would end for new and existing customers.

The retailer confirmed that Mr L had received SFiT since 17 May 2012. On 3 September 2012, the Victorian Government announced that SFiT would end on 31 December 2016, meaning that electricity retailers could no longer provide this rate past this date. As a goodwill gesture, the retailer offered $150 for any inconvenience this matter had caused.

The Outcome

With the $150 applied to Mr L’s account, the company confirmed that Mr L was in credit $2,350.71. Mr L was happy to keep this credit on his account, to pay future bills. It provided a direct contact, in case Mr L had any future concerns. Mr L accepted the information and offer provided and the case was closed on this basis.

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