Buyer beware?

February 20, 2010

A report issued by the Clean Energy Council (CEC) said up to 2000 households who took advantage of the government's solar rebate scheme may be at risk of electrical fires due to poorly installed rooftop panels.

After the government's insulation batt fiasco, the opposition has wasted no time in demanding the government immediately suspend the program while the auditor-general investigates.

As with the roof insulation scheme, the government's market-driven approach does create the risks associated with dodgy subcontractors and un-unionised and untrained workers.

However, despite its name, the CEC may have other reasons to try scare consumers away from solar and discourage the government from promoting it.

Paddy Manning, in the August 15 Sydney Morning Herald revealed the very unclean financial backers of the CEC. "The council now gets about 10% of its annual revenues (its accounts are not made public) from companies with investment in coal-fired power. Members include AGL, Origin Energy, TRUenergy, International Power (owner of Hazelwood), Delta Generation, Macquarie Generation and so on."

Measures such as increasing membership fees were tilting "membership increasingly toward the big corporate energy 'gentailers' who may be diversifying from fossil fuels into renewable energy and/or so-called clean coal".

Former CEC national policy manager Vikki McLeod, in a letter to the CEC board quoted by Manning, wrote: "In my opinion, the council membership and policy direction represents the conventional energy industry, which has both fossil fuel and renewable energy assets, rather than the sustainable energy industry."

As the world wide climate action movement continues to build in force, "big coal" is resorting to faux-Green front groups brandishing dubious reports. They are wolves in sheep's clothing.

You need Green Left, and we need you!

Green Left is funded by contributions from readers and supporters. Help us reach our funding target.

Make a One-off Donation or choose from one of our Monthly Donation options.

Become a supporter to get the digital edition for $5 per month or the print edition for $10 per month. One-time payment options are available.

You can also call 1800 634 206 to make a donation or to become a supporter. Thank you.