Origin Energy and the on-going Solar F.I.T. debacle

I’ve had solar hot water since July 2011, and solar panels since November of the same year, but the experience has not been all sweetness and sustainability.

My electricity retailer, Origin Energy, apparently had some difficulty adjusting their processes to the sudden influx of people with solar. I can only assume the wholesaler – SP Ausnet – had similar difficulties because neither company seems to have any knowledge of my solar panels. Which is rather odd when you consider that they have been paying me the top level Solar F.I.T. [Solar Feed In Tariff] since April 2012, off and on.

I would have thought that if Origin knew they had to pay me for my solar contribution they must know that I have solar panels in the first place. Logic, however, is sadly missing in this saga.

Back in 2013, Origin reduced the value of my solar contribution from 66 cents per unit of whatever to 28 cents – all without a word of explanation. It was left to me to query the bill and try to make sense of FIT vs CoGen. That was when I first heard that I was officially a non [solar] person because some documentation was missing.

What followed was months of frustration. I sent snail mail letters via registered mail, demanding answers. They responded, when they did, via phone calls …and nothing in writing.

And then, when I threatened to go to the Ombudsman, suddenly my solar F.I.T. was restored, again without a word of explanation. By this time I was so sick of the whole thing I just gave a silent cheer and let sleeping corporations lie.

origin filingNow, almost a year later, Origin and I are back to square 1. I have just received a letter saying they have been overpaying me and would I please sign the attached forms so they can pay me the measly 28 cent payment.

Well, guess what? Having just spent the entire day sorting through old files [that’s them carpeting my kitchen floor], I’m going to bundle up everything relating to this mess and send it to my solicitor. Win, lose or draw, this time I want answers.

Not happy Origin!

Meeks

 

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About acflory

I am the kind of person who always has to know why things are the way they are so my interests range from genetics and biology to politics and what makes people tick. For fun I play online mmorpgs, read, listen to a music, dance when I get the chance and landscape my rather large block. Work is writing. When a story I am working on is going well I'm on cloud nine. On bad days I go out and dig big holes... View all posts by acflory

14 responses to “Origin Energy and the on-going Solar F.I.T. debacle

  • dvberkom

    So sorry you have to deal with this, Meeks. But I say, go get ’em!!!

    Like

  • Candy Korman

    This is one of those arenas where an old technology and a new one (or relatively new incarnation of an old one) are going to go through major shakedowns before it all makes sense. Good luck with it! It’s still a mixed-up mess in the U.S. — working better or worse in different localities. The only people I know who seem to have it nailed down are some of my Dutch friends. When I visited last summer their solar panels were providing electricity for the house AND the car. It was great.

    That being said, I can relate to your frustration with the corporation. THAT seems to be a universal experience. Davids V Goliaths all around!

    Like

    • acflory

      From what I’ve read, the Europeans have a substantial start on us with solar, despite /not/ having the best locations for solar. And yes, that frustration with corporate BS does seem to be universal. I suspect after a certain size, all corporations become bogged down in their own internal machinations, and stuff the rest of us.

      Like

  • chrisjames282

    Blimey, good luck with that, girl. I was thinking about getting some solar panels, at least for the summer, but I’ll jolly well not bother now!

    Like

    • acflory

      oh no! Don’t not get the solar panels! Honestly, I wouldn’t be going through this mish mash if they didn’t work. The point is they /do/ work, and they are saving me money. It’s the corporate headache I could do without. 🙂

      Like

  • Courtenay Bluebird

    Meeka, I can totally commiserate! I’ve been going round and round with Apple regarding the refurbished MacBook Pro I bought it back in 2012. Remember that computer? Well, it was in for repairs eight times in the last year alone. They just replaced it 10 days ago with a brand-new computer.

    And literally one day later I had a nice go around with my favorite cell phone provider, Sprint. That took 25 hours of negotiations and six days to fix an incorrectly drawn-up contract that could’ve cost me thousands of dollars unnecessarily had I not addressed immediately.

    Considering the amount of paperwork you’re discussing, Meeka – I can’t even imagine what you’ve been through with your electric company. So glad you got your solicitor involved!

    Like

    • acflory

      Ouch. 😦 Commiserations back at you. When they say the wheels of industry grind slowly ‘they’ weren’t kidding. Good luck.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Courtenay Bluebird

        What’s especially weird is that the customer service departments of both of these giants are normally really good! But, in both cases, when it came down to was walking into a corporate store to finalize any and all transactions, or initiate repairs.

        In your case, there’s no storefront to which one can walk in and be seen as a person. I was so excited when I heard that you had gotten solar panels, and that it was subsidized in part by a federal initiative. It was especially nice to think that the various electric companies had also provided additional incentives—when they remember to do so. What a mess! I really hope that this company makes good on their promises to you.

        Like

        • acflory

          Part of the problem is that government has now stopped the initiatives. Old customers keep them, new customers don’t. I’m caught in the middle. But fingers crossed things will work out.

          Like

  • davidprosser

    If they have been paying the wrong rate at least it was on their assessment and they shouldn’t be able to claim anything back but you certainly do need a proper explanation as to how this sudden change of heart has come about.
    Maybe it’s time to email them and let them know since they haven’t given you written documentation proving the error and no satisfactory reason for the drop, you’ve placed the matter with your legal team and may contemplate suing them for costs.
    I hope you get it sorted to YOUR satisfaction and not theirs.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

    Like

  • EllaDee

    It sounds like your paperwork is doing the circuit of Origin. Often invoking the Ombudsman makes a difference but it’s peculiar Origin have now done a backflip. Dealing with Corporations is an exercise in frustration. Hopefully your solicitor can sort it out but it is probably too much to hope Origin will recompense your legal costs, let alone the time you’ve spent.

    Like

    • acflory

      Your comment about recompense is very true but these solar panels were meant to be a lifetime investment, something to help me survive financially into my retirement [har de har har]. I’m not looking to make a profit on them, only reduce my own electricity bills. Wish me luck. 🙂

      Like

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