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.

Comments

  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”

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