Rule Change: Completed

Overview

On 21 March 2019 the AEMC made a more preferable final rule that allows a metering coordinator to deactivate the communications on an installed type 4 meter if requested by a customer. 
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On 21 March 2019 the AEMC made a more preferable final rule that allows a metering coordinator to deactivate the communications on an installed type 4 meter 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.

This final rule determination is part of the Commission's ongoing work to facilitate the success of the Competition in Metering Rule reforms. 

Final determination

The Commission made a more preferable final rule that is consistent with the AEC’s rule change request. The rule is more preferable because the addition of the information provision obligation on retailers to inform that the customer on the cost and practical implications of their decision before a metering coordinator can accept the small customer refusal of a type 4 meter. Additional drafting changes have also been made to reflect the original policy intent of the 2015 Expanding Competition in metering and related services final rule (Competition in Metering Rule). 

The key features of the more preferable final rule are that it:

  • 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.
  • 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 as a precondition to acceptance of a customer refusal — a metering coordinator may only accept a small customer’s ‘refusal’ if they have evidence the retailer has given that customer information on the:
    • 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.

Some minor changes were made between the draft rule and final rule due to concerns raised by stakeholders in their submissions to the draft rule determination.

The final rule will commence on 1 July 2019.

Background

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

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 rules 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).

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

On 20 December 2018 the AEMC published a draft rule determination, with a more preferable draft rule. Nine stakeholder submissions were received and can be found below.

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Documentation