Power of Choice
AEMO, The Australian Energy Market Operator, announced new metering reforms effective December 1st, 2017. This reform is called Power of Choice (PoC).
PoC aims to provide customers the advantage to monitor and control their electricity consumption and bills. Customers can have a clear option in making a more informed decision about their electricity usage. It is also designed to provide a more efficient and flexible energy pricing offers for residential and small customers. The program solidifies the energy system where consumers are driving the transformation through the decisions they make about their households and business energy needs.
PoC has introduced a requirement for all new meters installed to be digital. Digital meters are the next generation of metering allowing for energy consumption to be measured at 30 min intervals and be automatically sent to the retailer at the end of each day via a secure wireless network.
Under new metering rules, digital electricity meters will progressively be made available to all residential and small business customers. The Australian Energy Regulator has published a factsheet to help consumers understand the new rules.
What is a Digital Meter?
A Digital Meter is basically a meter that has a digital display and a remote communication device which allows for a remote meter read in a 3G/4G network area. The Digital Meter records power use in 30 minute intervals and sometimes known as Type 4 Digital Meters with communications.
Features and Benefits of a Digital Meter
A key benefit of a Digital Meter is having a more accurate read, as a consumer you are not mandated to take the meter change offer and can still continue to use your existing meter if it functions accurately.
If your existing meter has been identified to be faulty or has reached the potential end of life, you must follow your retailer’s instructions and provide safe access for the installation of the Digital Meter.
Retailer’s Responsibility on Meter Fault Notification
QEnergy is in the process of actioning requests as soon as practical to prevent any potential issues with incorrect billing which could arise from a faulty or end of life meter. Meters that are reaching end of life, are not currently impacting customer’s billing with any inaccuracy and the changing of these meters is a normal maintenance task to pre-empt possible future issues.
The timing of the actual exchange may not occur with the originating recipient retailer as workflow management differs per retailer. This means, a change meter request (MFN) may have been issued by the Network originally to one retailer the customer may have changed retailers before the works are actioned and the new retailer will take on the responsibility for completing the change meter request (MFN).
Opting Out of the Meter Upgrades
As a consumer you have the ability to opt out of a retailer initiated roll out of smart meters. This applies when you haven’t already waived your right to opt out when signing up to your energy contract. However, this does not apply when your meter is found faulty or has reached the end of its life.
The whole meter exchange process would require QEnergy’s Metering Co-ordinator to make contact with our customers and arrange a suitable time to perform the meter exchange on site. QEnergy are not charging our customer for these works, however if problems are found on site and may require additional works and/or corrections to carry out and complete the exchange then customers may be liable for these additional costs.
Metering Installation Timeframes
Changes to the electricity industry rules effective from 1st of February 2019 mean there are new timeframes for the installation/replacement or exchange of metering. These timeframes only apply in jurisdictions where Power of Choice rules are in effect, of these QEnergy only operate in Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia. (Victoria is governed by the AMI rules.)
Malfunctioning Meter Rectification Timeframe: As soon as is practicable, but no later than 15 Business days after the metering coordinator has been notified of the meter installation malfunction.
New Connection Meter Installations Timeframe: Once notification has been received that all requisite connection services are completed (by your Electrician and/or the Local Network Service provider), the meter must be installed within 6 business days.
Meter exchange (existing site upgrades or modifications) Timeframe: QEnergy are required to complete a meter exchange within 15 Business days of receiving a request from a small customer to exchange the meter.
In all instances, you will be contacted by either QEnergy or our appointed Metering Coordinator to discuss the meter works and if possible negotiate a specific date for works to be carried out. If a date cannot be confirmed the works will be completed inside the maximum timeframe as detailed above. However, where there are complex works and/or planned outages required to complete the metering installation, you will be further contacted to discuss an altered installation timeframe.
Do I lose power during the meter installation?
Yes. QEnergy will notify you on your preferred communication method via email or phone at least four business days beforehand so we can carry out the installation.
Will it affect my billing cycle and my SmoothPay amount?
Yes. This means is you are on a quarterly billing cycle it will change to a monthly billing cycle. This is because all reads are captured every 30 minutes and billed on a monthly cycle in QEnergy’s system. If you are previously contracted on QEnergy’s SmoothPay product, this will no longer apply once the meter exchange has been completed, as the billing needs to be quarterly to qualify for SmoothPay product.
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