Deadlines For Electricity Meter Changeovers Under AEMC Draft Rule

The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) is calling for feedback on a draft rule that it says will give customers in the National Electricity Market (NEM) greater control over electricity meter changes and see deadlines implemented for meter changeovers.

The issue of meter changeovers has been a headache for some households installing solar power systems, particularly since “Power Of Choice” reforms kicked in last December when the task of installing and maintaining electricity meters was reassigned from Distributed Network Service Providers (DNSPs) to electricity retailers.

A few months back, SQ’s Ronald decided he’d try to find out from one electricity retailer how long it takes to have a meter changed over and even that exercise turned out to be an eleven-step process.

15-Day Meter Changeover Deadline

The delays, confusion and to-and-fro may soon be over. Under the AEMC’s draft rule, electricity retailers would have to provide new smart meters on a date agreed with customers. If a date isn’t set,  retailers would be required to install new electricity meters within 15 business days. Likewise, faulty meters would need to be replaced within 15 business days.

In the case of a new connection, the retailer would be subject to a maximum timeframe of six business days if a date cannot be agreed on.

DNSPs would also have a role to play in the instance of more complex electricity meter changes; for example, where customers have bought an electric vehicle that requires three-phase supply for charging. Networks would also be required to notify retailers as soon have connection work is completed.

The AEMC envisions retailers and DNSPs would be required to meet the new timeframes from the beginning of January next year.

Big Fines Threatened For Meter Installation Delays

Should the deadlines not be met, fines of up to $100,000 for each incident could be imposed, and $10,000 for each day of delay.

AEMC Chief Executive Anne Pearson said while rollouts of smart meters had been “seamless for the vast majority of consumers” since Power Of Choice kicked in, the Commission acknowledges retailers have been too slow in some cases – particularly in South Australia.

“That’s not good enough, so we’re stepping in to give consumers more power and certainty with enforceable new timeframes in the least cost way,” said Ms. Pearson.

Ms. Pearson stated more than half a million smart meters had been installed in NSW, South Australia, Queensland, ACT and Tasmania since December last year.

“About 1,000 metres a day are being rolled out without any problems for most people,” Ms Pearson said.

It’s safe to assume “metres” is a typo and not meaning 1 kilometre of electricity meters – which would still be lot of meters anyway (either laid side-by-side or end-to-end).

Feedback on the draft rule must be lodged by 25 October 2018 – further information can be found here.

As for between now and January, the AEMC says the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), state ombudsmen and governments will continue to work with retailers and DNSP’s to streamline processes and clear any backlog.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

Comments

  1. I had to pay for a new meter when I got solar panels installed . My current supplier wants to replace my meter with one of their own. I dont want that – I want the ability to change energy suppliers at will. All of the energy suppliers profit from customers not wanting to change suppliers.

  2. I had the panels installed for about a year maybe less .Then I had a knock on the door , the guy said he had to install a new back to base meter .that was it, no cost ,they just installed it end of story

  3. Had a house built, completion date October 2017, energex smart meter was installed when built.
    August 2018, installed solar and was informed that my meter was not a smart meter. Then, after sending photos to my power supplier “Click” it was decided that yes it was in fact a smart meter.
    After much back and forth talk, I was informed that I would have to have another smart meter installed at a cost to me, as apparently energex smart meters can no longer be used by other power providers. Something to do with a password that energex wont release to reprogram their meters.
    To cut the story short, I refused to pay for the meter and a lovely lady at the meter installation company helped me get the meter installed fast and all is well that ends well.
    Getting great performance from my solar panels and great return on cost.

  4. Wayne Bissett says

    Process with AGL was simple and cost free (I think) – just phone in, advise you have panels installed and request meter changeover. However, it took their 3rd party installer 8 weeks to change the meter. A few days after the meter was installed I called to set up my solar savers account to be told the house does not have solar fitted. After pointing out AGL’s service provider had installed the meter a few days earlier I was told it takes 6 weeks for their contractor to tell them the meter was fitted. After grumbling from me they agreed to back date my new solar saver account to the day of my call. I had panels fitted previously on another property under the old system and the meter was installed the day after the panels. That’s progress for you.

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