Aircon rule key to power saving
SOUTH Australian businesses and households can only reap the full benefits of turning off their airconditioners during scorching hot days if the national rulemaker gets on board, the State Government has warned.
SA Energy and Mining Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan says a national rule change is needed for consumers to benefit fully from the demand response market.
Under his proposal, submitted to the Australian Energy Market Commission, he says Demand Response Service Providers should be created.
Its spruikers say it will provide “significant” savings and prioritises consumers over the big energy retailers, but its exact benefits are unknown.
A similar demand response program in the US state of Nevada spruiks that it can save customers “up to $100” off their energy bill each year.
Mr van Holst Pellekaan said providers would form agreements with households and businesses about when they were happy to lessen their power usage, and then strike a deal with the energy market – with the bulk of savings going to consumers.
He said that allowing the new class would help consumers to make substantial savings by managing their own electricity use, rather than leaving it in the hands of retailers.
“If we look like we’re heading to a tight supply time or a high price time, the DRSP would negotiate with the grid and say they’ve got a chunk of customers willing to switch off, and those customers would then get paid a large share of the savings to the grid,” he said.
Mr Van Holst Pellekaan said it would pair well with the State Government’s demand response trials, which will provide data about how much the providers could save households and businesses.
Mr van Holst Pellekaan has won unexpected backers in the left-leaning think tank the Australia Institute and the Total Environment Centre. Australia Institute spokesman Dan Cass said that Mr van Holst Pellekaan had sided with consumers over the big energy retailers, who had proposed their own rule, which would not allow third-party providers to deal directly with consumers.
“Offering demand response is an effective way to lower the cost of power bills, which is good for families as well as small and big businesses across the country,” he said.
“The big energy retailers have had free reign for far too long and, as a result, they’ve driven the cost of electricity through the roof.”
SAVING: Consumers could earn money from switching off.