Essential Services Commission strengthens regulations on smart meters
17 September 2010
17 September 2010
Victoria’s economic regulator, the Essential Services Commission, has moved to reinforce obligations on electricity distributors and retailers for the statewide implementation of advanced electricity interval metering, or smart meters.
The Commission has reviewed energy regulations for which it is responsible to ensure customer interests are protected under the installation of smart meters.
The review included an assessment of information required for customers’ bills under smart meters, such as consumption levels and components of the bill, as well as the use of supply capacity products to restrict electricity consumption.
For most customers, electricity meter readings are manually collected every quarter and then used as the basis for calculating customer bills. Smart meters will measure, record and remotely collect data on electricity usage every half-hour, assisting customers to monitor and manage consumption.
In the final decision of its regulatory review of smart meters, the Commission has prohibited until 31 December 2013 the use of supply capacity products for credit management purposes, which enables momentary disconnection of customers’ premises.
These products would have allowed electricity retailers to curtail electricity usage by customers with identified credit management constraints.
Commission Chairperson Dr Ron Ben-David said it would conduct a further review to assess the extent of regulation for electricity load control products and whether supply capacity products should be offered to customers for other than credit management purposes. In addition, the Commission will amend the Energy Retail Code to ensure that customers’ bills derived from smart meter readings show a range of consumption and pricing data that is clear and understandable to customers.
Smart meters are now being installed across Victoria. By 30 June 2011, smart meters are expected to be installed in about 25 percent of premises, increasing to 100 per cent by the end of 2013