Metering changes are here
If you’re an AGL customer, you may have read that the terms of your energy contracts changed from 1 December 2017 as part of the Power of Choice metering reforms.
Power of Choice is a government-led, industry-wide program to provide consumers with more opportunities to make informed choices about the way you use electricity products and services.
Under new metering rules, digital electricity meters will progressively be made available to all residential and small business customers. Digital meters have already been rolled out across most of Victoria.
We’ve answered your most frequently asked questions about the changes below.
As a result of these changes, we’ve updated the terms and conditions of your contract with us. The amendments relate to how metering services are provided and how data is managed and used. We’ve also updated and clarified certain terms and definitions, which you can view here.
Digital electricity meters give you energy your way with:
Easy to monitor usage
Accurate meter reads
More timely data
Faster move in and out
Helpful online tools
In December 2017, new national metering rules took effect which improve your ability to access a digital meter and near real-time energy consumption information.
These changes were all about creating greater market competition and increased innovation in product and service design.
Until now, electricity distributors (the companies that provide local infrastructure like poles and wires) have been responsible for managing the installation, maintenance and reading of meters. Outside of Victoria, a basic meter has been the minimum requirement – which, unlike a digital meter, cannot provide advanced functionality including half-hourly readings and remote access or support more flexible billing.
Under new metering rules, digital meters will progressively be made available to all residential and small business customers.
Digital meters are the next generation of electricity meters. Unlike the previous generation of meters, they communicate between your home and your energy supplier using a wireless network. Your digital meter will measure your home electricity use every 30 minutes and automatically send this data to your retailer at the end of each day via a secure wireless network.
Digital meters can be used to help you identify when your electricity usage peaks. With our helpful online tools, including AGL My Account and the AGL App, you can view more timely data – so you don’t have to wait until your bill arrives to see your usage charges.
Another key benefit of digital meters is more accurate meter reads. As digital meters can be read remotely and your usage data is sent automatically, in most cases the need for on-site meter reads and estimated bills is significantly reduced.
Where we exchange your existing meter for a digital meter, you won’t have to pay for any upfront standard installation costs. In some cases, following a visit from our meter technician, you may be asked to undertake remedial works at your own (or your landlord’s) cost to ensure the site is safe, accessible and suitable for a new meter installation.
When we exchange meters or in some cases for other meter works, we may need to disrupt your electricity supply for a short period. The letter you received is your notice of the expected time and date when the technician will visit your property and the disruption will occur.
If there is safe and clear access to your meter, there’s nothing you need to do – you don’t even need to be at the property. For more information see our Customer Charter.
If there’s safe and clear access to your meter, you don’t have to be at the property during the installation. For example, please ensure there are no obstacles around the meter (including debris, vegetation, pests or animals) and that any gates or meter boxes are unlocked. If you have concerns about accessibility of the meter, please contact us ahead of your scheduled visit.
Digital meters and their communication networks are equipped with advanced security features that prevent unauthorised access. The wireless links between digital meters and retailers like AGL are encrypted and cannot be disabled. These links do not use the internet, providing further security. No customer names or addresses are attached to the transmission of meter data.
Yes - all digital meters meet the wireless electro-magnetic exposure limits set by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) and meet current Australian Standards, including those related to safety. Digital meters have lower emissions than many other electrical devices commonly found in households, such as mobile and cordless phones, Wi-Fi modems, microwaves, televisions and baby monitors. For more information, view the ARPANSA fact sheet
Digital meters are not dangerous. All digital meters installed are regulated by the Australian Communications and Media Authority and have frequencies similar to common household electronics like mobile phones and televisions. The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency sets exposure limits and concludes that ‘no scientific evidence exists that low levels of radio-frequency electromagnetic energy exposure from digital meters causes any health effects or symptoms of ill-health’.
For more information, visit:
NSW: Are smart meters dangerous to my health?
SA: Smart Meters
QLD: Digital Meters
VIC: Smart Meters Safety
Where consent is required, AGL will seek it from whomever occupies the property (i.e. the electricity customer). We don’t require permission from the landlord.
Yes. With the Australian Government’s Power of Choice reforms which came into effect in December 2017, all customers with new homes will have a digital meter installed. Simply contact us to arrange.
A digital meter installation can still proceed, however, the meter technician will need to test the strength of the telecommunications signal to your property. If the signal in your area is weak, we may need to manually read your meter, which may mean you’ll still receive estimated bills. We’ll discuss these alternative arrangements with you if necessary.
No – having a digital meter installed does not affect your customer rights or the protections provided to you under the National Energy Retail Rules. You still have the right to seek and access energy concessions, rebates and hardship schemes offered by AGL, other retailers or the State Government (where applicable in conjunction with each scheme’s conditions). You also retain access to existing dispute resolution paths.
Yes - digital meters are equipped with remote functionality to be able to be read, disconnected and reconnected. These meters also have features to protect against hazards such as electric shock and fire damage.
No – your digital meter operates at a low frequency and power level; it will not interfere with any other equipment in your home.
We’ll notify you if we're planning an upgrade to your current meter, at which point, you can contact us to opt out. However, opting out of a current or future new meter deployment won’t stop you from receiving a digital meter if your current meter needs to be replaced for technical, regulatory or maintenance reasons. For more information, see the Australian Energy Regulator’s Smart Meters and You Fact Sheet.
The meter installer had difficulty installing my digital meter. How do I find out more information? Once AGL has confirmed details of a digital meter installation at your property, a qualified electrical installer will be sent to complete the installation. Sometimes during the process, an issue (commonly called a ‘site defect’) is discovered which prevents the installer from continuing immediately with the job. This could include the discovery of electrical issues or on-site contaminants, like asbestos. If this occurs, the meter installer will provide you with information outlining the site defect, why it prevented installation, who is responsible for rectification works and who you should contact to discuss the matter further.
Note that wiring issues associated with the circuitry in the home, the switchboard and the meter box remain the responsibility of the homeowner.
All wiring issues associated with the circuitry in the home, the switchboard and the meter box are the responsibility of the homeowner. If a site defect has been discovered at your home, you will need to get in touch with your landlord or real estate agency and ask them to address the problem.
If you’re experiencing issues with an AGL electricity account which you think are due to your digital meter, contact us and we’ll investigate.
Power of Choice is a government-led, industry-wide program to provide consumers with more opportunities to make informed choices about the way you use electricity products and services. Under new metering rules, digital electricity meters will progressively be made available to all residential and small business customers. As a result of these changes, we’ve updated the terms and conditions of your contract with us. The amendments relate to how metering services are provided and how data is managed and used. We’ve also updated and clarified certain terms and definitions, which you can view here.
Customers won’t have to change over straight away. From December 2017, all new properties will get digital meters, as will customers whose meters are faulty or are coming to the end of their lives. For more information, see the Australian Energy Regulator’s Smart Meters and You Fact Sheet.
The Australian Energy Regulator has published a factsheet to help consumers understand the new rules
The Australian Energy Market Operator (Australia’s independent energy markets and power systems operator) and the Australian Energy Market Commission (which sets the rules that govern the electricity and natural gas markets) both offer information on the Power of Choice review and its resulting rule changes on their websites:
AEMC - http://www.aemc.gov.au/Major-Pages/Power-of-choice
AEMO - https://www.aemo.com.au/Electricity/National-Electricity-Market-NEM/Power-of-Choice
For more FAQs or to ask a question, visit your AGL Community - a dedicated online forum where you can share, discuss and learn about all things energy.