The AEMC has made a final rule to allow metering coordinators to deactivate the communications on already-installed advanced meters if requested by a customer.
Metering coordinators and retailers will first need to ensure that the customer has sufficient information, so that the customer can make an informed decision when they request deactivation of the remote meter communications of their installed meter.
Under the AEMC’s Competition in metering rules, which started in December 2017, all new and replacement meters for small customers (households and small businesses) must be an advanced "type 4" meter unless:
- there is no telecommunications network in the area to support a type 4 meter, or
- a metering coordinator accepts a customer’s request to not have a type 4 meter at the time of installing a new meter.
In these circumstances, an advanced meter with the communications deactivated (known as a "type 4A" meter) can be installed. This means that the meter can no longer be read remotely or provide "smart" functions like demand response.
Previously if a customer moved into a house or business premises with an advanced meter and wanted the meter’s communications deactivated, there was no provision under the rules for the metering coordinator to deactivate the meter’s communications.
The Australian Energy Council proposed a rule change so that this particular type of customer deactivation request can be addressed by the retailer and their appointed metering coordinator.
Key features of the more preferable final rule:
- Adopts the core element of the proposed AEC rule change — allowing metering coordinators to deactivate the communications on an installed type 4 meter when a small customer objects to its continued use.
- Clarifies the original policy intent of the clause — accepting a customer’s objection to the use of a type 4 meter is at the discretion of the metering coordinator.
- Imposes an information provision obligation on metering coordinators — a metering coordinator may only accept a small customer’s request if they have evidence the retailer has advised the customer about:
- upfront charges and likely ongoing charges associated with a type 4A meter payable by the customer
- similarities and differences between a type 4 and a type 4A meter.
The final rule will commence on 1 July 2019.
Media: Prudence Anderson, Communication Director, 0404 821 935 or (02) 8296 7817
What are advanced meters?
Advanced (or smart) meters (known in the rules as "type 4") help customers get the most out of new technologies like rooftop solar, storage and energy efficient appliances. Smart meters can also enable demand response which:
- occurs when consumers are paid to use less energy by switching off appliances or drawing power from their solar panels or battery storage instead of the grid
- can help the power system cope with extreme weather events (e.g heatwaves) and avoid blackouts.
These meters can also be remotely read which means that manual quarterly meter reads are no longer required. This results in:
- lower cost for consumers
- greater variety in billing options for both retailers and consumers.
Advanced meters can also give information about energy consumed by new ‘smart’ appliances – making it easier for consumers to reduce their costs by moving their use to off-peak times if they choose.
What is the role of the metering coordinator?
The retailer is the point of contact for the customer and they in turn provide instructions to metering coordinators for any metering work needed by the customer. Metering coordinators:
- are engaged by retailers to manage the installation and maintenance of meters for their customers
- will work with the designated metering provider and metering data provider to carry out this work as required.