GREENPOWER users will be double billed if changes to the new greenhouse gas reporting system are not made, says University of Adelaide climate change Professor Barry Brook.
This could cause the GreenPower national accreditation scheme to “implode” when an emissions trading scheme is introduced in 2010.
Professor Brook said the almost 750,000 households and businesses using GreenPower nationally would be penalised once an emissions trading scheme was introduced as they would be paying extra to buy power from renewable sources.
They also would pay extra – with all other electricity users – to compensate for the cost of carbon once a trading scheme was introduced.
They effectively would be paying for the cost of emissions which they had paid extra to avoid by buying renewable energy.
More than 71,000 South Australian homes and 1817 businesses use GreenPower.
“People who buy GreenPower will be penalised under an emissions trading scheme because they’ll pay an extra cost to buy their power from renewable sources, and then also pay extra to compensate the grid for higher costs of carbon,” Professor Brook said.
“Imagine the situation where struggling families committed to play their part to fix climate change spend hundreds of dollars extra per year for renewable energy and then are charged hundreds of dollars more to cover permits for the emissions that they have paid to avoid.”
Greenhouse accounting becomes legal tomorrow under the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act 2007. Professor Brook said GreenPower users should be given some sort of recognition, such as a renewable energy certificate.
“When the emissions trading scheme comes in, energy retailers would have no cause to pass the costs of carbon permits to their GreenPower customers, preventing double payment that would otherwise occur,” he said.
Treasurer Wayne Swan said details of the emissions trading scheme would be outlined in a green paper next month.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has released guidelines for consumers. Avoiding Hot Air: a Consumer Guide to Carbon Claims is on its website.
By Cameron England
June 30, 2008
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