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People's power worth less

Meridian Energy's customers who generate their own power are to be paid less for any surplus they sell back to the company.

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Some consumers generate their own electricity using small wind turbines, micro-hydro schemes and photovoltaic modules.

Meridian Energy's customers presently sell surplus electricity back to the company for the same price as they buy it. The deal was born of necessity: Meridian's billing system could only handle one price per customer.

That'll soon change. Meridian has unbundled its energy and network charges, which will allow it to reduce the amount it pays for customer-generated energy.

Reductions under the new scheme will be two-fold.

  • Meridian will pay for the electricity it buys back from customers – but it won't reimburse network charges.
  • It'll pay one rate for the first 5kWh of user-generated energy per day and a lower rate thereafter.

According to the company, most of its 630 distributed-generation customers don't export enough electricity for the change to significantly affect them.

While the new rates haven't been announced, Meridian says it aims to maintain its "industry-leading offer" for user-generated power.