If a property has solar power, it is best for the tenant and property manager/owner to negotiate how electricity will be charged before the start of the tenancy to ensure they are clear about the arrangements. Owners should consider their arrangement carefully before making any changes.
Some accounts have lower tariffs that only remain in place if the account continues as it was first arranged.
Being clear about the rebate at the start of the tenancy will avoid disputes later on. These details should be written into the tenancy agreement.
- Tenant has the electricity account in their name. They pay the supply authority and receive any rebate (i.e. the solar bonus).
- Property owner has the electricity account in their name. They pay the bill, receive the rebate, and ask the tenant to reimburse them the full amount.
- Property owner has the electricity account in their name. They pay the bill and ask the tenant to reimburse them the full amount minus the rebate (e.g. $400 bill, minus $150 rebate = $250 payable by the tenant).
- Property owner has the electricity account in their name. They pay the bill and agree to pass on part of the rebate to the tenant (e.g. $400 bill, $150 rebate, the property owner agrees to pass on 50 per cent of the rebate = $325 payable by the tenant.
- Property owner has the electricity account in their name. They pay the account and receive the rebate. The cost of the electricity service is included in the rent.
While the Act does not specifically refer to the solar bonus scheme, it does provide guidelines for service charging.
If a service is in the property owner's name they cannot ask the tenant to pay more than the 'amount charged' by the supply authority. The Act does not specify if the 'amount charged' is the total cost of the service or the total cost, less the solar bonus, nor does it make specific reference to the scheme.
If you cannot agree about the electricity bill by talking with each other, you may apply for dispute resolution assistance.
Solar bonus scheme
The Queensland Solar Bonus Scheme pays eligible customers for the surplus electricity, generated from solar photovoltaic systems, exported to the electricity grid.
The scheme, managed by the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy, is designed to make solar power more affordable and encourage energy efficiency.
The Electricity Act 1994 states the person who has the electricity account in their name is entitled to the bonus.
Example: If the account is in the tenant’s name the tenant can claim the bonus; if the account is in the property owner’s name they can claim it.