Smart meter open access and common communication standards

The AEMC today recommended open access and new communication standards for smart meters to help establish a competitive market for innovative electricity services.

Our Power of Choice Review said services supported by new metering technology could give consumers more choices on how to manage the level and cost of their power usage. The Open Access review proposes new communication standards so authorised service providers can offer new ways to make this happen.

Energy services of the future could offer consumers a wide range of flexible pricing options; weekly power-bill apps on smart-phones; washing machines and dryers that turn themselves on when power prices are at their lowest during the day; and off-peak charging arrangements for electric vehicles.

At the same time wireless communication of powerline faults across the distribution system would enable network operators to identify and repair problems more quickly - leading to more cost-effective operation and management of networks.

Under the Open Access Review recommendations for a new shared market protocol would provide a common language for communicating with smart meters in a low cost way

The availability of a shared market protocol could promote competition by reducing communication software development costs; reducing unnecessary meter replacement; and not inhibiting a consumer’s ability to switch retailers.  In order not to stifle innovation, we also recommend the use of other communication protocols should be allowed.

We recommend that the market for energy services enabled by smart meters should be able to develop without further regulation at this time.

There are a number of interdependencies between this review and the rule change request that the Standing Council on Energy and Resources (SCER) submitted to the AEMC on expanding competition in metering and related services (the competition in metering rule change request).  SCER’s ongoing considerations on the role of third party energy service providers in the National Electricity Market will also have an impact on our recommendations.  We have developed an implementation plan for our recommendations, which takes into account these interdependencies. information sheet

Next steps

  • Recommendations have been submitted to energy ministers on the Standing Council on Energy and Resources for consideration.
  • We recommend that we would conduct a competition review of the energy services market in three years’ time.[1] The competition review would assess whether the market is operating as envisaged or whether some form of access regulation is required.

For information contact:

AEMC Chairman, John Pierce (02) 8296 7800

AEMC Chief Executive, Paul Smith, (02) 8296 7800

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


10 April 2014

[1] The competition review would be conducted three years after the commencement of any rules made under the competition in metering rule change.