The Alternative Technology Association (ATA) has called on Victoria to delay adoption of new rules on electricity meters in a joint review submission with other consumer advocacy organisations.
Competition in metering services is being introduced into the National Electricity Market at the end of 2017. This means that responsibility for electricity meters will change from network businesses to retailers.
The purpose of this change is to increase the number of smart meters across the market – presumably, retailers will put smart meters in customers’ houses in order to deliver more sophisticated services or simply to get better real-time information about their energy consumption.
Because Victoria already has smart meters in nearly every home and small business, the Victorian Government is considering whether and to what extent the same rules should apply. Its preference (detailed in the options paper) is to embrace the change, but to retain the Victorian meter specification, which requires additional features to the bare minimum required under the national specification.
The ATA believes Victoria should delay adoption of the new rules because:
- The overarching objective of the change has already been met under the current system
- Adopting the new rules puts at risk some of the benefits of the Victorian smart meter program, including network businesses’ ability to use aggregate meter data to better manage and identify faults and safety risks in their networks
- Giving retailers control over meters introduces the risk they will be used to lock customers in to contracts rather than give them broader options, and energy management and advice services might be locked out from meter access because they are counter to retailer interests.
If Victoria chooses to go ahead with metering competition, regulation should be introduced to guarantee access to meter data and functions by network businesses and other businesses authorised by customers. The ATA also urges that the Victorian meter specification be retained.
Read the joint consumer groups’ submission on the Transition to Metering Competition in Victoria.