Smart Meters

Smart meters can save you money and provide more detailed information on your energy consumption. If you have rooftop solar, then a smart meter is a must!

What is a Smart Meter?

Smart meters are digital electricity meters that measure the electricity used by your home or business at 30-minute intervals and sends that consumption data to meter service provider over the 4G network.

Once a smart meter is installed, there’s no need for a meter reader to visit the property.

In contrast, older-style electricity meters with a dials and rotating discs only measure accumulated energy consumption and only display the total electricity used at any time, typically between the three-monthly manual readings.

Digital interval meters can also record electricity consumption in 30-minute intervals, but unlike smart meters they aren’t able to communicate to the metering provider. Interval meters do allow time-of-use pricing, but they still need to be read or have the information downloaded manually.

Smart meters are standard in Victoria due to a mandatory rollout but are less common in other states.

However, since December 2017, federal regulations require that all new meter installations or replacements be smart meters.

Why should I get a smart meter?

A smart meter:

How do I access information about my electricity usage?

Very few customers access their smart meter consumption data. In fact, an industry insider told us that only around one percent of all customers in Victoria do so.

This could be because, while smart meters do generate more detailed data on electricity supply and export, the meter itself doesn’t display this information for the household.

Instead, customers can only access this information through a third party – their electricity retailer or distributor – or by investing in an in-home display.

In Victoria there are incentives available under the Energy Saver Incentive scheme to support the installation of in-home displays.

According to the Victorian Energy Saver site site, worldwide trials have found in-home displays helped consumers reduce their energy consumption from between 5 and 15%.

These devices show in real time:

Some retailers let customers view their energy consumption data via their online account or through an app (e.g. Powershop, Origin, AGL).

Others (e.g. Energy Australia, Dodo) require you to make a special request for that information and will send it later via email.

How can a smart meter save me money?

There’s a pattern to how we consume energy. High energy use times are weekday mornings, afternoons and evenings. Unsurprisingly, low energy use times are overnight when we’re all sleeping.

If a large number of electricity customers shift their energy use to off-peak times, there’s less need for expensive upgrades as the current network infrastructure can be used more efficiently. These off peak times can be used to heat storage water tanks, underfloor heating or run swimming pool equipment.

Beyond regular or flat-rate pricing tariffs, retailers offer flexible pricing plans or time-of-use tariffs to customers with interval and smart meters to incentivise customers to use cheaper, off-peak energy.

How do I access information about my electricity usage?

A typical flexible pricing plan operates across three time periods – peak, off-peak and the shoulder. It could look like this, but they vary widely in both pricing and times.

For more information on upgrading your home to a smart meter, click here to contact us.

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