Household battery storage revolution must benefit consumers

Policy-makers must act quickly ensure that the regulation of new electricity storage technologies provides the best possible deal for consumers, according to a new report released today by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC).

‘There is a revolution in electricity supply underway,’ said Edward Santow, PIAC’s CEO.

‘Rapid developments in battery storage mean that consumers will soon be able to store energy generated from solar panels for later use, potentially reducing bills and giving households more control of their energy needs than ever before.

‘We need to make sure we have laws that enable all consumers to benefit from the uptake of these technologies,’ Mr Santow said.

The report, Batteries and electricity network service providers in Australia: regulatory implications, examines different models for ownership of energy storage technologies, including innovative approaches used in California and New York. In particular, it highlights the risk for consumers if electricity networks are allowed to include batteries in their Regulated Asset Bases, on which they earn a guaranteed return, paid through electricity bills.

‘This new era in renewable energy storage needs to be accompanied by some careful thinking about how our energy market is regulated,’ said Suzanne Harter from the Australian Conservation Foundation, which supported the research along with the Brotherhood of St Laurence.

‘This report provides valuable insights into the regulatory arrangements that will be required to make sure consumers are properly protected and unfair competitive advantages are avoided,’ said Ms Harter.

‘The key to developing a better and more affordable energy system is to embrace this change, not try to fit new opportunities into old ways of thinking,’ said Mr Santow.

The Australian Energy Market Commission is currently reviewing the issue of regulating energy storage technologies.

Batteries and electricity network service providers in Australia: regulatory implications, is available here.

MEDIA CONTACT: Energy and Water Senior Policy Officer, Oliver Derum: 0422 946 901.

Photo: Flickr

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