Energy & Utilities

Will smart metering work in NSW?

Victoria recently completed the rollout of 2.8 million smart meters across the state and NSW is set to follow on this path. In late October the NSW Government announced that electricity smart meters will be installed through a market-led rollout.

NSW Minister for Resources & Energy Anthony Roberts remarked:

“This is a case of allowing business to do what it does best, innovate and provide a product at competitive prices. It will be up to retailers to convince a customer of the benefits of having a smart meter and what it could offer them,” (Source:

Electricity smart meters in NSW will be installed through a market-led rollout.

Electricity smart meters in NSW will be installed through a market-led rollout.

We asked two key speakers from the inaugural Summer Energy Briefing (Darryl Biggar, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and Andrew Dillon, Energy Supply Association of Australia) how applicable smart meters are to NSW and whether it will work. Here is what they had to say.

Darryl Biggar, Special Economic Advisor, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)

“My understanding is that NSW will not have a mandatory roll out of smart meters. Instead, the NSW Minister for Energy (Anthony Roberts) has announced (28 October 2014) that NSW will have a “market led” roll out. This means that customers will be free to choose whether or not to replace their existing meter with a smart meter provided by a third party. Customers may choose to do so for a variety of reasons, such as having the ability to take up new or innovative tariffs from a retailer. In some cases customers may install a smart meter to save on the costs of meter reading (most Smart Meters can be read remotely). AER has made special arrangements in the latest draft determination for NSW distribution businesses (released 27 November 2014) to allow metering services to be “contestable” – that is to allow businesses other than the DNSP to provide metering services, while ensuring that the distribution businesses are able to recover the costs of the existing meters. The AEMC currently has a rule change process underway to ensure that there is effective competition in metering services.

It is not clear how many NSW customers will choose to take up the possibility to install a smart meter in the first few years. That will depend on factors such as marketing campaigns from retailers, and the extent to which retailers can make an attractive offer (a “value proposition”) to customers. However, if new network pricing schemes are adopted it seems likely that smart meters will eventually seem attractive to many customers and over time, customers will choose to take up smart meters in relatively large numbers in NSW.”

Andrew Dillon, General Manager Corporate Affairs, Energy Supply Association of Australia

The rollout of smart meters in NSW (as well as other states) will be quite different from what occurred in Victoria. Future rollouts will not be mandatory and most customers will have to volunteer to get a smart meter. This will make the rollout slower but ensure smart meters are only rolled out to those who want them. One key learning from Victoria that is certainly applicable elsewhere is the need for an extensive communications and education campaign, to ensure consumers are aware of what is happening and empowered to make choices that suit them.

Darryl and Andrew will be sharing their expertise at the Summer Energy Briefing to be held on the 24-25 February at the Marriott Melbourne.

Summer Energy Breifing 2015

Summer Energy Breifing 2015

3 thoughts on “Will smart metering work in NSW?

  1. I can see why the power companies want smart meters. To take out the humps and bumps of supplying power over 24 hours and summer and winter peaks and when people start coking at night etc. But there is a further problem. What happens when there is a sustained demand for power and it is longer than a peak and the load is so great that blackouts are caused? is it to be that people in a poorer suburb will have power cut so the wealthy can have air conditioning? Its not rocket science, even a child can predict from past usage patterns when a peak will occur and when extra demand will occur. Simply generate more electricity. Need a new power station? Well you gonna need it any way. Need to borrow money for it? Power is secure and there is a growing demand that will continue to grow, I’d lend you my money!
    The idea of increasing tariffs during peaks? Well this smacks of taking food out of our mouths. Why should I pay extra to cook at normal times? Rev up the generator or cut in the standby diesel generator, its not rocket science. people eat at the same time every day.
    So for the moment I am against Smart meters. The real value for smart meters is for people who are building a boat in their back yard and need a lot of power at odd times and possibly at a discount for the extra demand. Or. People who have life support machines and use far more than usual power. There are many other reasons, like small home businesses that have freezers/air conditioners going 24 hours. Give them a break.
    Within the next 2 years there will be a proliferation of electric cars on the road. How will they be charged? A Smart meter can supply power at a low off peak rate for car charging over night, and switch on and off at appropriate times. There are thousands of battery chargers sucking power all day for phones and toothbrushes etc. that need only 2 hours or invalid scooters that need 8 hours overnight. but are plugged in 24hours a day.
    I can see where the power companies are coming from, they want to make a fast buck and to hell with who it hurts and they want to be able to control the lives of ordinary people. But the Demand will never stop growing and profits are a certainty so a bit of fairness is possible. Just build more power stations. They will never work at capacity all the time, but the people will use the power.

  2. there are questions whether electricity is or should be a “when you need it” service where the inconvenience/cost benefit ration of time shifting of loads is poor: few power down (shift) to save money: people have determined their life styles and wish to continue down those paths: The people of the world are generally opposed to smart meters and changing their chosen life styles: therefore why ????? are the politicians of the world forcing this crazy system onto the people. I could provide some answers but I prefer to stay out of the courts.

    Some one add up the world costs for this crazy policy and then offer a justification for the expenditure: hint its the people who provide the money (wasted money): the business people make the profits.

  3. This is not our government talking but the foreign owners of our power. How would we know how to pkan our lufestyle when we cant see what the general population is using abd we only have the power companies wird that we used power in peak times.
    With electric cars coming (many on the road now) on over night charging it will be peak time fir 20 of 24 hours. There should nit be peak rates and briwn outs to keep usage below an arbitrary limit.
    Renters will be disadvantaged by not being able to use solar power as off set.

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