The AEMC has made a draft rule to allow metering coordinators to deactivate the communications on already-installed advanced meters if requested by a customer.
Metering coordinators would first need to ensure the customer has sufficient information so they can make an informed decision when choosing to deactivate their meter.
Under the AEMC’s Competition in metering rules which started in December 2017 all new and replacement meters for small customers (households and small businesses) must be an advanced "type 4" meter unless:
- there is no telecommunications network in the area to support a type 4 meter, or
- a metering coordinator accepts a customer’s request to not have a type 4 meter at the time of installing a new meter.
In these circumstances, an advanced meter with the communications deactivated – known as a "type 4A" meter – can be installed. This means that the meter is no longer able to be read remotely or provide "smart" functions like demand response.
Currently, if a customer moves into a house or business premises with an advanced meter already installed and wants the communications deactivated, there is no provision under the National Electricity Rules for the metering coordinator to undertake this task. The Australian Energy Council proposed a rule change so that this particular type of customer request can be addressed by the retailer and their appointed metering coordinator.
Under the draft rule, metering coordinators will be allowed to deactivate the communications on an installed type 4 meter when requested by a small customer. Metering coordinators can use their discretion to accept a small customer’s request for deactivation, but only if the metering coordinator or retailer has first given the customer the information they need to make an informed decision. This information includes the upfront costs, indicative ongoing expenses associated with a type 4A meter that will be payable by the customer and the differences in functionality between a smart meter and a deactivated meter.
Stakeholder submissions on the draft determination and rule are due by Thursday 7 February 2019.
Media: Prudence Anderson, Communication Director, 0404 821 935 or (02) 8296 7817
What are advanced meters?
Advanced meters (known in the NER as "type 4" meters) help customers get the most out of new technologies like rooftop solar, storage and energy efficient appliances. For example, smart meters enable "demand response". This is when consumers are paid to use less energy by switching off appliances or drawing power from their solar panels or battery storage instead of the grid. This helps the power system cope with extreme events, such as heatwaves, to avoid blackouts.
These meters can also be remotely read which means that manual quarterly meter reads are no longer required. This results in lower cost for consumers as well as a greater variety in billing options for both retailers and consumers.
Advanced meters can also give information about energy consumed by new "smart" appliances – making it easier for consumers to move their use to off-peak times if they choose.
What is the role of the metering coordinator?
Metering coordinators are engaged by retailers to manage the installation and maintenance of meters for their customers. The retailer is the point of contact for the customer and provides instructions to the metering coordinator for any metering work needed by the customer. The metering coordinator will work with the designated metering provider and metering data provider to carry out this work as required.