Rule Change: Open

Overview

This rule change request would allow a metering coordinator to deactivate the communications on an already-installed advanced meter if requested by a customer.
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This rule change request would allow a metering coordinator to deactivate the communications on an already-installed advanced meter if requested by a customer. 

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 the 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) is installed. This means that the meter is no longer able to be read remotely or provide ‘smart’ functions like demand response. 

Currently, if a customer moves into a house or business premises with an advanced meter, and wants the communications deactivated, there is no provision under the national electricity rules (NER) for the metering coordinator to undertake this task (metering coordinators are engaged by retailers to install and maintain meters and the meter’s relevant data for their customers).

Draft determination

On 20 December 2018 the AEMC made a more preferable draft rule that allows a metering coordinator to deactivate the communications on an installed type 4 meter. This effectively provides the customer with a type 4A meter (and not any other type of meter). 

Metering coordinators can use their discretion to accept a small customer’s refusal of a type 4 meter, but only if the metering coordinator or retailer has first given the customer the information they need to make an informed decision.

The more preferable draft rule is consistent with the Australian Energy Council’s (AEC) rule change request. It is more preferable due to the information provision obligation placed on metering coordinators to ensure that the customer is informed of the cost and practical implications of their decision, as well as additional drafting changes that have been made to reflect the original policy intent of the 2015 Expanding Competition in metering and related services final rule (Competition in Metering Rule). 

Key features of the draft rule

The more preferable draft 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, and that refusal is acted on (accepted) by the metering coordinator.
     
  • imposes an information provision obligation on metering coordinators as a precondition to acceptance of a customer refusal — requiring metering coordinators to provide (or to ensure that the retailer has provided) information to a small customer objecting to the continued use of an installed type 4 meter, regarding the:
    • upfront costs and indicative ongoing expenses associated with a type 4A meter that will be payable by the customer
    • differences between a type 4 and a type 4A meter
    before the metering coordinator may accept that refusal and arrange a type 4A meter installation.
     
  • clarifies the original policy intent of the clause — the way the rule is currently expressed in clauses 7.8.4(d)-(i) of the NER means the relevant policy position from the Competition in Metering Rule may not be clear to all parties in their interpretation of these provisions. Consequently, in this draft rule the Commission has clarified the policy position in the relevant clauses as they relate to the rule change proposal. 

Stakeholder submissions were due by 7 February 2019.

Background

On 20 July 2018 the AEMC received a rule change request from Australian Energy Council to amend the NER. A copy of the rule change request is available below.

On 11 October 2018 the AEMC published a consultation paper on the rule change request. Eleven stakeholder submissions were received and can be found below.

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Documentation