News, media releases

Barnett red tape locking out Tasmanian small businesses

Guy Barnett is failing to get the basics right on energy. 

Since it was announced power prices would go up by 12% this year, the government has been spinning its wheels trying to respond.

One of its responses was an energy saver loans scheme.  It took until October to set up before it finally agreed to partner with Brighte Capital, a firm whose mainland record has serious question marks.

Brighte’s role in the sector came into question late last year when the ABC investigated how vulnerable Australians, including pensioners in regional towns, were being sold overpriced solar systems, costing nearly double their worth. Brighte was financing and profiting from those deals. 

The attempt to provide additional protections for recipients of the scheme has now led the government to require Clean Energy Council (CEC) retailer accreditation of Tasmanian small businesses wishing to participate in the scheme.

The problem now is that the accreditation requirements have stopped 90% of Tasmanian installers from being able to participate in the scheme.  Brighte Capital is actively referring Tasmanian customers to mainland contracts and local businesses and workers are missing out.

Tasmanian businesses like Whitney Electrical and Solar need to be included, as they have been in previous schemes.  They are high-quality, reputable businesses who do great work.

  • From Ben Shaw, State Manager of NECA

“It seems the government have been sold on a promise of consumer protection and better regulation, but are getting a completely opposite outcome.”

“Not only are consumers now at greater risk from dodgy retailers but the qualified electricians in Tasmania are now even further disadvantaged by over regulation and red tape.”

“Something this government says it prides itself on is cutting red tape and keeping our trades sector and small business moving, well this is doing the complete opposite to an industry profession that already has some of the most stringent regulations and reporting in the country.”

“These sort of sales jobs on government are the exact reason all related  policy should be consulted heavily with industry bodies and representatives because if this was done in the first place we wouldn’t be in this mess.”

  • From Simon Whitney, Whitney Electrical and Solar

“The government has added the CEC ‘Retailer’ requirement in an attempt to give greater protection to Tasmanians, reducing door knockers and cold callers selling low quality equipment, but the companies who employ these practices are the 10% with the ‘Retailer’ accreditation. Locking out the other 90% of Tasmania CEC accredited installers who were previously eligible in the successful 2017 TEELS program.

“The CEC Retailer accreditation offers not one single extra consumer guarantee that isn’t already available. 100% of solar installation in Tasmania is already inspected by Tech Safe and every installer has to sign a statutory declaration that their system will perform to expectations. The Retailer accreditation is redundant and simply reduces  competition for the Tasmanian public.”

Dean Winter MP
Shadow Minister for Energy