Frequently Asked Questions
Question: I have rooftop solar, and produce excess energy during the day. Can you help me to get a better price for my excess energy?
Answer: Yes. You will be in total control of your energy sale with Localvolts: you will set your own sale price(s), and decide who receive your offer(s) – meaning you will be able to do a direct deal with your own customers. This should naturally give you a better price for your excess energy.
Question: I have a PV system, and am planning to add more panels, a battery, or both. Do you have any specific technical requirements that I should be aware of?
Answer: No, you do not need any special setup to become a participant in the Localvolts marketplace.
Question: What actions are physically required to get started with Localvolts?
Answer: You will need to register as a Participant on Localvolts and decide whether you want to sell or buy electricity or both. Once registered, you will be led through the buying and selling processes, after which you will be able to track your progress in real-time. We will be offering a very different experience to what is available to you at present.
Question: What are the costs involved to get started with Localvolts.
Answer: The Localvolts bill will identify all of the costs involved in consuming electricity which include grid charges, metering fees, renewable certificates, energy cost, etc.
You will know exactly what all of the charges are, and to whom you are paying them.
Question: What are the expected returns or savings for a Localvolts Customer?
Answer: The concept behind Localvolts is to create a fair and transparent marketplace for electricity. We strongly believe that the current prices of electricity are higher than they should be, especially for customers who are producing electricity for themselves. You will be making your own decisions regarding prices and energy sources. The actual outcomes will depend on the marketplace. This should deliver a better outcome for you.
Question: Which states does Localvolts operate in?
Answer: Grid connected customers in the National Electricity Market of Australia (New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania) will be the first to be able to buy and sell electricity in Localvolts marketplace. Others will be able to participate in a different manner.
Question: How long before the Localvolts program is up and running for general public use around Australia.
Answer: Localvolts will be releasing the Alpha version of its marketplace this year, after which people who have expressed their interest will be invited to participate. We suggest you become a Supporter, or register for our newsletter to stay informed.
Question: If Localvolts is successful, and consumer start to buy energy from household generators rather than large companies, who will pay for the grid and infrastructure?
Answer: The existing power grid and industry structure is organised for large generators to make energy and have it delivered via high and low voltage networks to consumers – it is a unidirectional model where the industry makes all the decisions.
With consumers becoming active participants, the power networks will have to adjust to bi-directional energy flows – this is more a mindset issue for the networks in our opinion; the engineering is not that hard. The power networks’ role is essential in the new energy world; they just have to adapt a bit.
Our view is that anyone who uses the grid must pay for it, and our business model ensures that this happens. The debate will be around for what services, and how much? We will help in this by providing full transparency – no more bundled prices allowing some people to make up their own facts.
As for the large generators, well, they’ve had the market to themselves for long enough; they’ll have to learn to share.
Question: Do I need to be connected to the grid to sign up with Localvolts?
Answer: Yes and no. You have to be connected to the grid in the National Electricity Market of Australia to buy and sell electricity. Individuals residing elsewhere can provide other services within the Localvolts marketplace.
Question: Is Localvolts available in Western Australia?
Answer: No and yes. The Western Australian electricity law does not allow small customers to choose their electricity supplier, hence you cannot buy and sell electricity on Localvolts marketplace until there is a change in the law. We believe that this law will change in time. Meanwhile, you will still be able to provide other services in the Localvolts marketplace.
Question: I have multiple properties. Can I trade electricity between these properties?
Answer: Yes, you can choose who you buy from and also choose who you sell to. You will be able to set specific prices for your properties, say $0 if you want to “share”, or a different price is you want your tenants to pay a specific rate.
Question: Do you sell the panels or is it my responsibility to purchase and then set up with your company to sell power?
Answer: We do not sell solar panels. You will need to set up your own generator before selling electricity via the Localvolts marketplace.
Question: Do I need to generate electricity to join Localvolts?
Answer: No, anyone who consumes electricity can join. As a consumer you can choose who you buy electricity from and at what price. You might support your local community, or choose suppliers based on the environmental impact of the generators. Localvolts is just as much about providing you choice and control over your electricity consumption, as well as over your electricity production.
Question: Is a donation to Localvolts tax deductible?
Answer: No. Localvolts is not a registered charity. But, how about looking at this another way – if you are interested in contributing, but are concerned about the absence of a tax deduction, just reduce your donation by half, and you capture the tax benefit.
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