Bonuses soaked up in solar scheme

DOZENS of Hunter households will pay hundreds of dollars a year extra because their solar bonus scheme contracts have not been honoured.

Central Coast-based Sanctuary Energy had sold a 50-50 deal where customers received a free solar system up-front and 50per cent of the scheme’s 60¢/kilowatt rebate under a five-year contract.

The remaining 50 per cent was to be used to pay the system off.

Sanctuary Energy director Mark Marjoribanks said the company had been forced to alter the original contracts because Ausgrid had lost about 80 connection applications that it submitted on behalf of its customers.

Ausgrid has denied the claim.

Sanctuary has since offered affected customers a 20 per cent discount instead of the original offer.

‘‘Electricity has just gone up 18 per cent so we are hardly going to be ahead,’’ Sanctuary Energy customer Alex Slinn, of Wallsend, said. ‘‘Basically we would have received $700 a year for five years instead of about $280 a year now.’’

Mr Slinn said he would take the matter to the Department of Fair Trading.

Sanctuary Energy said it originally submitted Mr Slinn’s application to Ausgrid for connection on November9, 2010, shortly before the scheme closed. It said it resubmitted the application on May 23, 2012, because Ausgrid lost the original application.

An Ausgrid spokeswoman said the matter had been thoroughly investigated.

‘‘Our records show the installer did not submit this customer’s connection form until 23rd May this year,’’ she said. ‘‘The claim by the installer that Ausgrid lost applications has been fully investigated and we have no record of receiving these applications by the due date.’’ AAP reports: Two solar panel companies have been found to have made misleading comments about the impact of the carbon tax.

Polaris Solar and ACT Renewable Energy said in leaflets distributed in Western Australia and the ACT in late 2011 and early 2012 that customers should buy solar panels because electricity prices would increase by 20per cent due to the carbon price.

The brochures also claimed the cost of power would rise by more than 400 per cent by 2019.

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