Advanced (Smart) Meter Rollout In Western Australia

Smart meters - Western Australia

Western Power is to install 238,000 advanced (aka smart) meters as part of its routine meter replacement program, and for all new meter installations.

Western Power is a WA Government owned corporation that operates in the state’s South West Interconnected System (SWIS). Its transmission and distribution network runs from Albany in the south to Kalbarri in the north and Kalgoorlie in the east, and includes the Perth metropolitan area.

An advanced meter is a digital meter capable of automatically and remotely reading electricity consumption. Smart meters can also provide early detection of faults and supply issues. Power quality data can be captured at regular intervals as well as the direction power is flowing, which enables monitoring the amount of renewable energy from sources such as rooftop solar power systems that is being exported into the grid.

While some existing meters may have digital or electronic displays, these are not necessarily devices that can have the required communication card installed to make them a “smart meter”. In addition to the meters, supporting systems and communications infrastructure will need to be implemented as part of Western Power’s rollout, a task that is already under way.

The Western Australian government says the advanced meters will improve the safety, efficiency and reliability of Western Power’s operations and services provided to customers, and an increase in operational savings once the initiative is fully rolled out.

Western Power says:

“Advanced metering technology will help stimulate the next leap forward in electricity innovation. When combined with other network-connected technologies such as solar, batteries, home automation devices and applications, they can deliver better products and services for you.”

The smart meter rollout will also enable the wider implementation of time-of-use tariffs and possibly the introduction residential demand tariffs.

“Advanced metering technology empowers customers and gives them a choice on how and when they use their electricity,” said Energy Minister Bill Johnston.

It’s not the first time smart meters have been rolled out in significant numbers in WA, although this initiative is on a much larger scale. More than 9,000 advanced meters were  installed between 2009 and 2012 in Perth as part of a trial. Western Power says participants reduced their power bills by between $25 and $1,000 a year – that’s quite a range and the company notes this was also when combined with other energy efficiency measures.

On a related note, we reported earlier this week Western Australian households may be facing another electricity price increase, albeit comparatively small, from July 1.

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.


  1. Graeme Weston says

    Hi Michael, re Western Power Landis + Gyr Smart Meter. According to the specs of this meter consumers should be able to wifi access and “read” the real time information stored on the memory chip. We just need the login and password and an app to put the data in a format we can make sense of. This would be useful for monitoring or to groups wanting to setup local microgrid or a VPP to negotiate with lines companies re FCAS services (if we have batteries). They may not want us to see the power quality data!
    Could you do an article on how to facilitate this please?
    Although Western Power own the meter it is on our property and the data is ours. Technically they need our permission to share it with retailers (for invoicing) or other groups wanting to provide grid monitoring services, demand management…..

  2. Anonymous says

    There is no way I’ll be allowing a smart meter on my property. My mother is selling her home in Melbourne to get away from her smart meter. It making her sick, loss of energy, feelings of depression due to the output of radiation. She showed me the amount of Radiation with a electric radiation device and the level was extremely high. Due to feeling unwell she had an additional dwelling built on her property to escape. My partner is an airline pilot and they are subject to radiation and are monitored by flying hours to keep their exposure at safe level. A safe level? This only shows that radiation is dangerous at prolonged levels of exposure. My mother will soon be moving to Perth to escape these so good luck trying to install one on her new property.

    • Des Scahill says

      Dear Anonymous,

      I assume by ‘radiation’ you are referring to ‘ultra high frequency’ electricity waves ( such as a mobile phone radiates). rather than the ‘radioactive’ nuclear kind.

      But if its indeed the latter, perhaps some government authority needs to be told. They probably won’t do anything (other than perhaps change the standard so that the increased level of radioactivity falls within some ‘updated; definition of ‘perfectly safe’ levels subject to some qualification in microscopic print on page 1067 of the standards that you only go near such sources once for 2 minutes in any 10 year period so its your own fault if you die from the effects not theirs), but at least your own conscience will be clear.

      Either way, you mother has my sympathy – its a huge upheaval to move at her age.

    • I think you and your mother need to take off your tin foil hats, sounds like an argument similar to an antivaxxers “evidence”

      • I am experiencing the same problem since they installed them in Perth. We were given no choice. I went from working an incredibly physical demanding job to not being able to work. My blood pressure has flown through the roof and doctors can see no reason why. We are nothing to the government, so we die who cares plenty more slaves on the earth. Greedy governments and corporations have made an absolute mess of what was once a beautiful planet. There is no love for beauty anymore. Can’t wait till the world shakes all the evil out. Then we may have a hope of living full and good lives.

  3. Bret Busby in Western Australia says

    The above article does not specify the brand and model number of the meters that were to be installed (is the widespread installation of these meters underway, and, will this meter replacement campaign, replace the digital “bi-directional” “smart meters”, such as the EM1000 meter that we were required to have installed to replace our previous analogue meter, when we initially got domestic rooftop photovoltaic systems installed, in October 2013, or has the meter replacement campaign, completed?).

  4. The main issues of concern with the proposed smart meters seem to be –

    : Serviceability – if a problem occurs, it’s far more time consuming to isolate the specific cause,and fix it. While you wait, you have no power supply.

    : Highly dependent on mobile network//internet for transmission of data, meter reading information and updating of software if a change to a new electricity supply plan is made. There is already a network congestion problem during daylight business hours in some regions in Australia, and the added volume from thousands of ‘smart’ meters won’t be helpful in reducing that.

    Privacy and cyber security concerns.
    . ANYTHING that’s connected to the ‘internet of things’ can be ‘hacked’, or will be in the future. It seems possible too that your detailed personal and usage data can be aggregated with others and on-sold as marketing information to third parties. Where that might lead us to in the future is anyone’s guess.

    The claimed (and possibly only benefit) for consumers, is that greater knowledge of their patterns of power consumption will be available to them, This (theoretically) equips them to make informed choices about what changes in consumption patterns will benefit them the most.

    Existing Solar PV system owners are already familiar with that broad concept, and many have already modified their consumption patterns in order to maximize self-consumption of the output from their panels.

    So, depending on which Australian state you live in, its likely that existing PV system owners won’t be affected nearly as much as those without solar panels on their roof, because you’ve already changed your consumption patterns to shift as much consumption as possible to daylight hours.

    By and large though, consumer consumption patterns are unlikely to change significantly from what those currently are because they are strongly influenced by the real life circumstance that surround every family. Those circumstances can’t always be easily
    : If you’ve got teenage kids at high school, many will be doing homework during TOU peak tariff periods, because that’s the only time they can.

    : If you’ve got a job, you don’t really have that much flexibility about the hours and time of day you turn up for work. Which in turn affects the times of increased demand when you are at home.

    : If person X currently spends 3 hours a day watching TV or Netflix movies on his 85 inch, 8K UHD TV which consumes about 4.5 to 5 kw per hour and cost him (say) upwards of $15K when he brought it; it’s likely he’ll continue doing so, rather than send it to the tip.

    : Us lesser mortals are unlikely to alter the time we put our mobile phone on its charger either, because the power drawn is minuscule

    It looks unlikely to me that ‘smart meters’ will achieve much of significance at all. There will always be ‘winners and losers’ no matter what charge out system you use, but in this case it does seem to me that there will likely be adverse social and economic consequences for those least capable of adjusting to the ‘new rules’,

    The overall lack of significant benefit comes about partly because, much as you might like to try to, you can’t separate ‘changes in energy policy’ from wider climate change issues.

    Australia is not alone in that of course, even our more environmentally aware cousins in NZ still face looming problems of considerable magnitude similar to those we face here. If you don’t get your priorities right, you’ll find that ‘mitigation and adaption’ on an ad-hoc basis could turn out to be a waste of time and money.

    Just to illustrate, here’s an August 2020 article I found at

    The article outlines the major problems being faced by local councils throughout NZ in adapting to climate change. The central theme is that

    ‘A lack of central government policy on climate change adaptation has left councils treading water as they attempt to engage with threatened communities’:

    and I’ll summarize the more detailed points:

    : this central policy vacuum creates the real risk of councils being left to develop solutions for their individual communities that are ultimately unachievable.

    : One reason the proposed solution are unachievable by councils is that when there’s no central national policy, there’s also no central government funding. Central governments don’t fund policies that don’t exist

    : The magnitude of the funding required is completely beyond the ability of councils to fund anyway, especially so for smaller seaside and rural communities further inland. ..

    : There’s also no guidance for councils, as to what priorities they should set in allocating any limited funds of their own they may have or can glean from cancelling other obligations to their communities they may already have.

    : Without clear guidance, funding assistance, and access to highly qualified experts, there’s a risk too that councils spend funds on projects that won’t achieve anything at all in their specific case.

    The NZ Government has in fact taken notice of the above issues, and discussions are underway as to the level of assistance – both technical and financial that will be needed, on a community by community basis. Such assistance potentially includes such thing as ‘relocation’ grants to individual households of significant amounts, concessional mortgage funding arrangements and so forth.

    Even a simple central government guideline such as ‘Don’t build anywhere that isn’t at least X distance from the foreshore, and is Y height above sea level’ does much to alleviate community concerns, because it significantly reduces the various possibilities available for consideration to a more manageable level. .

    The NZ leadership contrast with Australia couldn’t be more dramatic.

    In OZ, while our central federal government continues ‘planning to plan’ the equivalent of a ‘road-map to nowhere”, local councils continue to approve residential developments on reclaimed foreshore mudflats while at the same time doing their best to ensure that they won’t be legally liable if it all goes horribly wrong,

    While its easy to be critical of councils, it needs to be remembered that long before building begins, a lengthy period of time may have already passed as plans are drawn up, negotiations between the council and the developer concluded, environmental approvals obtained etc. Once that process is completed, it’s very difficult to subsequently make any major changes

    The final report from an ‘Inquiry into tackling climate change in Victorian communities” was published in Nov 2020, and can be accessed here.

    It’s well worth reading as it highlights the essential and very complex role councils play in protecting communities, along with the funding difficulties they face when a ‘disaster’ of some kind occurs, or they attempt to ‘transition’ to a carbon neutral point across their entire operations. .

    I’m not at all opposed to a TOU charging basis as an aid to smoothing out the overall grid demand curve, provided there’s adequate safeguards for the vulnerable.

    What I am opposed to is firstly, its hasty introduction, and the added capital costs imposed on consumers when there are still serious concerns about privacy and cyber security aspects. Secondly, taking into account the rapidly increasing magnitude of other climate change related issues, there do seem to be lots of other things our nation could be spending money on that would be far more effective.

    Seeing that there’s already a process in place to transition to smart meters over time ( eg. new home builds), why not just let that take its course? Home owners can still make an earlier transition if they choose to, if they find its worth their while to do so.

    But that’s not likely to happen.

  5. Rex Nollamara WA

    Landis Gyr E350 meter recently installed

    Displays are only time, date, total consumption and LCD display.

    there are videos on you tube that indicate that cumunilative power fed back into the grid should be displayed (is this just for victoria?)

    why is this not available in WA?

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