Smart Meter Acceleration

The AEMC wants to accelerate a universal smart meter rollout, targeting completion of a universal smart meter deployment by 2030.

Smart Meter Acceleration
Smart meter resistance is real

The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) has published a draft determination and draft rule to deploy smart meters to all customers by 2030.

The draft rule would introduce eight reforms:

The proposed rule change includes consumer protections intended to minimise resistance and potential for refusal of the smart meter upgrades, and maximise benefit.

In particular, the proposed rules specify that no up-front fees can be charged for smart meter replacement.

Upfront customer charges for smart meter deployments could create social licence risks and impact the overall success of the acceleration program.

Although retailers currently do not typically pass on upfront costs to customers, under the proposed draft rule, retailers would be explicitly prohibited from imposing any upfront charges or exit fees on small customers for a smart meter replacement.

This excludes new connections, customer-initiated deployments, or deployments resulting from the customer installing solar PV or a battery.

The draft rules also specify a minimum standard of information provision for energy consumers through the upgrade process

Information that retailers must include in their notice to customers
• The reasons for the proposed meter deployment (for example, meter failure/end of life, customer request, or new meter deployment initiative).
• An indicative timeline for when the customer would receive the smart meter (this can be a date range).
• How the customer can access their smart meter data.
• The customer’s rights and responsibilities regarding the meter installation (including remediation work).
• Any upfront charges the customer will incur under their retail contract as a result of the new meter deployment.
• Any changes to the consumer’s retail contract resulting from the meter installation, including tariff changes (if applicable).
• A summary of the services available to the customer as a result of obtaining a smart meter (including how customers can benefit from smart meters).
• Who the customer should contact to resolve issues, including dispute resolution options.
• The retailer’s contact details.
• Contact details of interpreter services in community languages.

Smart Meter problems

A key deficiency in the historical management of tariff changes and introduction of new tariff types such as time-of-use and demand tariffs has been the very poor attention to education of energy consumers before these tariff changes are imposed on them.

A recent and fast-growing concern is the forced migration of energy consumers to Demand Tariffs which is accelerating quickly, despite there being very little communication and education about Demand Tariffs from the energy retailers, and despite the 'official' comparison services Energy Made Easy and Victoria Energy Compare being unable to assist their users to conduct a Demand Tariff comparison.

Energy Made Easy can’t calculate Demand comparisons
Energy Made Easy and Vic Energy Compare cannot calculate a Demand tariff comparison, so these services are next to useless for energy consumers on Demand tariff plans.

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