Rule Change: Open

Overview

This proposed rule change would require retailers to provide customers with new electricity meters within a defined timeframe.
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On 13 September 2018 the AEMC published a draft rule which aims to provide customers with more control over when their electricity meter is installed or upgraded. 

Retailers would have to provide new smart meters on a date agreed with customers. If no date is agreed, retailers would be required to install new meters within six business days after a property has been connected to the network.

If customers want to swap their old meter for a smart meter, retailers would have to agree on an installation date with customers or make sure the work is done within 15 business days. Replacements of faulty meters would also have to be done within 15 business days. 

The draft rule places new obligations on distribution network service providers (DNSPs) as well as retailers. DNSPs would have to notify retailers as soon have they have completed connection work. Also, they would be required to use AEMO’s B2B e-hub, an industry-wide online booking system, to coordinate with retailers on key stages of the installation process.

Retailers and DNSPs would be required to meet the new timeframes from 1 January 2019 to allow time for those impacted to prepare for the changes.

Stakeholder consultation

Register here to attend a workshop on the draft rule in Adelaide on 12 October 2018

Submissions to the draft determination and draft rule are due by 25 October 2018.

Draft determination

The key features of the draft rule, which is a more preferable draft rule, are:

  • Retailers will be required to provide a meter installation for a new connection or a simple meter exchange on a date agreed with the customer. If no date can be agreed, then the retailer will be subject to a maximum timeframe of six business days for a new connection or 15 business days for a simple meter exchange. 
  • The retailer will be required to provide a metering installation for a more complex meter exchange on a date agreed with the small customer and the distribution network service provider (DNSP). If no date is agreed, then the retailer must install the meter within a maximum timeframe of 15 business days. The DNSP must coordinate the connection alteration in order to allow the retailer to meet its timeframe obligations. 

The more preferable draft rule includes other measures to strengthen existing consumer protections including: 

  • obligations on the retailer to inform small customers of the meter installation timeframes for customer-initiated works
  • a recommendation to the COAG Energy Council to extend the current civil penalty provisions on timeframes for malfunctioning meters to include the new timeframes for other types of metering arrangements
  • providing more flexible notification requirements for retailer planned interruptions of electricity supply to support more efficient meter installations
  • a recommendation to AEMO that they streamline the appointment process for metering parties in certain circumstances.

In addition, the more preferable draft rule harmonises the timeframe for metering coordinators to repair and replace a small customer’s faulty meter with those for customer initiated meter exchanges. This reflects that the installation process is similar in both scenarios and requires coordination between several parties.

Rule change requests

The Commission received two rule change requests to address the adverse impacts on consumers as a result of metering installation delays:

  • The Hon Josh Frydenberg MP, Minister for the Environment and Energy, submitted a rule change request on behalf of the Australian Government that would impose obligations on electricity retailers to install a meter within a specified timeframe. 
  • The Australian Energy Council (AEC) submitted a rule change request to extend the timeframes in which faulty electricity meters must be replaced; allow customers to opt out of the written notification requirements involved in a retailer led deployment of advanced meters; and address several issues related to planned interruption notices.

All three rule change requests are seeking changes to the National Electricity Rules (NER) and the National Electricity Retail Rules (NERR).  As such, the AEMC has consolidated the rule change requests under the National Electricity Law and the National Electricity Retail Law.

Background

Customers typically need a new electricity meter when they need a new connection, when their old meter needs replacing, or when they want to access new products and services such as solar panels. Under the AEMC’s Competition in metering rules which started in December 2017, all new meters must be advanced. 

Currently, there are no set timeframes for retailers when providing customers with a new electricity meter, except in the case of faulty meters, which must be replaced within 10 business days.

Some customers have experienced delays in receiving new meters. The Commission has received two rule change requests to address the adverse impacts on consumers as a result of these delays.

On 31 May 2018 the AEMC published a consultation paper for the metering installation timeframes rule change. 24 submissions were received on the consultation paper and can be found below.
 

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