AEMC acts to speed smart meter rollout

Tuesday, 09 April, 2024

AEMC acts to speed smart meter rollout

The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) has made a draft rule with the aim of accelerating the deployment of smart meters to energy customers by 2030. This follows on from foundational recommendations made in the AEMC’s smart meter review, published on 30 August 2023.

The self-initiated review produced a number of final recommendations, including an accelerated rollout of smart meters, better information for customers ahead of a meter upgrade, new customer protections and improved data access arrangements for networks and energy customers.

AEMC Chair Anna Collyer said smart meters offer consumers increased visibility into their energy use, allowing them to better understand and manage their bills while also opening up access to new and improved retail service options.

“A number of Australians are already using smart meters to cut power bills, from those who have resources such as rooftop solar to customers without solar who may be using smart meters to access cheaper tariffs,” Collyer said.

“Smart meters present clear benefits for consumers and form a crucial link for the wider energy system, paving the way for significant advances necessary to reach net zero.”

According to the AEMC, the accelerated replacement of legacy meters is expected to deliver net benefits of $507 million for national electricity market regions, including New South Wales, Queensland, the Australian Capital Territory and South Australia.

Collyer said the draft rule is the first step in a broader program of work to modernise and digitise the energy system, with the AEMC committed to progressing further reforms, including customer access to real-time data from smart meters.

“We look forward to receiving a rule change request on customer access to real-time data, as recommended by the review we undertook last year, so that customers can access the full suite of benefits that smart meters offer,” she said.

The draft rule includes two core reforms:

  • Accelerated deployment of smart meters — deploying smart meters to customers faster to achieve cost savings; support a modern, data-enabled energy system; and give customers access to a range of benefits sooner.
  • Access to power quality data — improving network access to important power quality information so customers can better manage their networks, have reduced network costs, save energy and minimise network safety risks.

In addition, the draft rule also includes four supporting reforms:

  • New customer safeguards — protecting customers from potential cost risks by prohibiting any upfront costs ahead of a smart meter installation, and increasing notification requirements ahead of tariff changes.
  • Improving the customer experience — ensuring that customers can access the full suite of benefits that smart meters provide, including by introducing new customer-friendly information requirements.
  • Reducing barriers to installation — supporting delivery efficiencies and therefore cost savings in the accelerated deployment of smart meters.
  • Improved meter testing and inspections — helping minimise costs and improve efficiencies for industry and customers.

The proposed rules in the AEMC’s draft determination would commence progressively, beginning 25 July 2024.

For more information, visit the project page.

Image credit: Potemkin

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