Smart meters are now in place in all Victorian homes, providing benefits that were not available with the accumulation meters.
Smart meter benefits
The benefits from smart meters have been substantial for distribution businesses, retailers and consumers (with some expected to increase). Benefits include:
- Faster connections – Connections and disconnections are faster and cheaper for consumers.
- Improved network safety – distribution businesses now have immediate detection of faults and network disturbances and can implement safety measures more quickly.
- Network operation efficiency – distribution businesses now have reduced response times and in some cases can undertake repairs remotely saving time and money.
- Faster detection of outages and faults – Smart meters can notify a distribution businesses in real-time if a premises' power is out. These outage alerts can speed up power reconnection because the source of the problem can be pinpointed instantly, allowing repair crews to be prioritised appropriately and start repairs sooner. Smart meters can then verify whether power has been restored to all meters.
- Data availability – smart meters provide accurate real-time information about electricity consumption for consumers and retailers, virtually bringing an end to manual and estimated readings and associated costs.
- Flexible electricity pricing - Victorian electricity customers with a remotely-read smart meter now have the option of choosing between flat rates and new flexible electricity pricing. Flexible pricing means different rates for electricity at different times of the day. For more details on flexible pricing, please visit Victorian Energy Saver.
- Easier integration of distributed energy resources such as solar and battery storage. For more details on the Solar Homes program please visit Solar Victoria.
How do smart meters work?
Smart meters measure and record how much electricity a household or business is using at 30-minute intervals. There are different smart meter models, but the basic functions are the same. Smart meters also provide a range of information to electricity distribution businesses to help them manage the distribution network to provide reliable power across Victoria.
Smart meters communicate energy consumption directly to electricity distributors, eliminating the need for someone to come out and read meters – whether that is required for each bill, to change electricity retailers or to reconnect power when customers move house. Not only does this reduce fees, but electricity bills are more accurate – virtually eliminating estimated bills.
Responsibility for smart meters
Smart meters were installed by Victoria's five electricity distributors – AusNet Services, CitiPower, Jemena, Powercor and United Energy – which own and manage the poles and wires that deliver power to homes and businesses across Melbourne and throughout the state.
Smart meter provision
In 2019, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) engaged KPMG to undertake extensive stakeholder engagement and consider the experience of other National Electricity Market jurisdictions in a review of AMI contestability.
Consultation confirmed that the benefits from AMI have been substantial for distribution businesses, retailers and consumers. Benefits include:
- improved network safety
- network operation efficiency
- improved forecasting
- reduced meter reading costs
- faster connections
- faster detection of outages and faults, and
- data availability for use in Victorian Energy Compare.
Review of the information provided found that introducing contestability at this time is unlikely to unlock unrealised benefits to consumers and may diminish some of the benefits that have been realised. On this basis, electricity metering will remain non-contestable based on current conditions in Victoria. DELWP will work with industry and distribution businesses on how to best maximise the value of AMI as a network device, including improving access to AMI data. DELWP will also continue to monitor the electricity market and consult with consumer groups and other stakeholders to further realise the benefits of Victoria’s smart meters.
Page last updated: 09/10/20