On 26 November 2015, the AEMC made a final rule that will open up competition in metering services and will give consumers more opportunities to access a wider range of services.
The competitive framework is designed to promote innovation and lead to investment in advanced meters that deliver services valued by consumers at a price they are willing to pay. Improved access to the services enabled by advanced meters will provide consumers with opportunities to better understand and take control of their electricity consumption and the costs associated with their usage decisions.
The new arrangements, which will commence on 1 December 2017, have required changes to the National Electricity Rules (NER) and the National Electricity Retail Rules (NERR).
The final rule changes who has overall responsibility for the provision of metering services by providing for the role and responsibilities of the Responsible Person to be performed by a new type of Registered Participant - a Metering Coordinator. Any person can become a Metering Coordinator subject to satisfying certain registration requirements.
Retailers are required to appoint the Metering Coordinator for their retail customers, except where a party has appointed its own Metering Coordinator.
The final rule also includes a number of other features to support the competitive framework for the provision of metering services, including consumer protections.
The final rule was made in response to a rule change request from the Council of Australian Governments’ (COAG) Energy Council. The Commission’s final rule is a more preferable rule, but contains many of the elements of the COAG Energy Council’s rule change request.
The COAG Energy Council’s rule change request identified that despite the benefits advanced meters can offer, the current regulatory framework allows, and potentially encourages, the continued installation of meters with only limited functionality.
This rule change is a part of a series of changes recommended in the Commission’s Power of Choice review, including establishing new network pricing arrangements and making it easier for consumers to access their electricity consumption information.
There has been extensive consultation over an 18 month period as part of the development of these new rules and careful consideration given to the views of different stakeholders. Further information about each stage of consultation can be found below under the documentation section for this rule change.