All new electricity meters installed for residential and small business customers in NSW need to be advanced digital meters (sometimes called ‘smart’ meters). The older-style non-digital basic or accumulation meters will be phased out and replaced with digital meters over time.
What does this mean for customers?
- Energy retailers are now responsible for installing meters for residential and small business customers
- Digital meters will be installed whenever new or replacement meters are required.
- Retailers may roll out digital meters to individual or groups of customers, but customers may choose to opt out if their current meter is working provided they haven’t signed a contract stipulating otherwise.
For more information on metering, visit the AEMC website.
Benefits of digital meters
More frequent usage data
Digital meters provide information about electricity usage at least every half hour. This gives you the opportunity to monitor your usage and make changes to reduce your usage.
No more estimated usage readings
Digital meters can be read remotely, which means retailers don't need to do estimated reads.
Choose how often you get your bills
You can request bills monthly, making budgeting easier.
Faster switching and transfers
Digital meters make it quicker and easier to switch retailers when moving house. However, the NSW Government has placed a temporary moratorium on remote connections and disconnections because of safety concerns.
Things to be aware of
Time of Use (TOU) tariffs
Digital meters allow retailers to introduce TOU charges. If you can choose when to use your appliances, especially large ones like pool pumps, clothes dryers, dishwashers etc, you may be able to reduce your energy costs on a TOU tariff. Read more about tariffs on the Energy Made Easy website.
You do not have to go onto a TOU contract just because you have a digital meter. However, individual retailers may only offer TOU contracts, so you may need to change retailers to retain a flat rate.
Mobile signal needed for remote connections
Digital meters use the mobile phone network to transmit a signal. If you live in an area with weak or no mobile signal you may not be able to get the advantages of remote reads and automatic connections.
Timeframes for meter installations
If you've requested a new meter or are having your old meter replaced, your retailer must install the new one by a date agreed with you. If no timing can be agreed, they must install the meter within six business days at a new connection, or within 15 business days if you've requested a meter replacement. There are penalties for retailers that do not meet these deadlines. Read more on meter installation timeframes.
For more information about smart meters visit the AER website.