The AEMC is seeking feedback on a rule change request from the Australian Energy Council that would allow a metering coordinator to deactivate the communications on an already-installed advanced meter if requested by a customer. 

Under the AEMC’s Competition in metering rules which started in December 2017, all new and replacement meters for households and small businesses must be an advanced ‘type 4’ meter. Advanced meters help customers get the most out of technologies like rooftop solar, storage and energy efficient appliances, for example by providing functions like demand response and giving information about energy use in real time. 

There are two exceptions to installing advanced meters: 

  • if there is no telecommunications network in the area to support a type 4 meter
  • if a metering coordinator (via a retailer) 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) is installed. This means that the meter is no longer able to provide ‘smart’ functions. 

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 rules for the metering coordinator to undertake this task. The Australian Energy Council proposes to change the rules so this particular type of customer request can be addressed by the retailer and their appointed metering coordinator.

The AEMC has published a consultation paper seeking stakeholders’ views including:

  • the extent of the issue - that is, the number of customers who would be affected by the rule change, if made
  • why customers may want to deactivate the communications function on advanced meter 
  • the costs and benefits of the solution put forward by the Australian Energy Council.

Stakeholder submissions on the consultation paper are due by 8 November 2018.


What are advanced meters?

Advanced meters (known in the rules as ‘type 4’) 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. 

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. 
Consumers also benefit from lower cost automated meter reading, remote connections and disconnection, and faster response to outages.

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. 

Media: Prudence Anderson, Communication Director, 0404 821 935 or (02) 8296 7817