Metering changes are on the way

If you’re an AGL customer, you may have read in your recent bill that we’re changing the terms of your energy contracts from 1 December 2017 in preparation for 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. 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:

  • monitoring data

    Easy to monitor usage

  • my agl iq

    Accurate meter reads

  • share buy back

    More timely data

  • move house

    Faster move in and out

  • energy-app

    Helpful online tools

FAQs

Overview

In December 2017, new national metering rules taking effect will improve your ability to access a digital meter and near real-time energy consumption information. These changes are 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.

In line with these changes, retailers (including AGL) may contact you about upgrading the electricity meter at your premises to a digital meter.

What are the key benefits of digital meters?

If your digital meter has remote communications enabled, you can access a number of benefits, including:

  • Remote meter readings - removing the need for estimated bills and onsite meter reads.
  • Increased energy information - access to greater electricity consumption information to help you manage your electricity usage.
  • Access to innovative products and services - enabling you to engage more actively with your electricity consumption, production and export (where you have solar panels and/or battery storage).
  • Remote connection and disconnection services - making it easier, more efficient and cheaper to move properties.
  • Early detection of supply issues including as a result of blackouts, system-failure and critical power management faults.

If you do not wish to have remote communications enabled on your digital meter, you can request this at the time of installation.  Additional charges may apply for digital meters without remote communications and some products or services may not be available. 

Do I have a right to opt out of meter upgrades?

If you are on a market contract with AGL, the General Terms of your contract allow us to carry out a new meter deployment at your premises at any time. This means that we can replace your meter with a new digital meter. We will notify you if we're going to do this, at which point if you do not wish to receive a digital meter, 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.

I rent my property. Do I need my landlord’s permission to install a digital meter?

We don’t require permission from the landlord to install a digital meter.

Are there any changes to my customer rights if I have a digital meter installed?

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.

Can I get a digital meter for my new house/development?

Yes - simply contact us to discuss the options available.

My new house/development will be completed after 1 December 2017. Which meter do I need?

After 1 December 2017, when the new rules take effect, all customers with new homes will have a digital meter installed. Simply contact us to arrange.

Can my digital meter be remotely operated?

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.

If you do not wish to have remote communications enabled on your digital meter, you can request this at the time of installation. Additional charges may apply for digital meters without remote communications and some products or services may not be available.

Will the remote reading interfere with other devices (phones, TV, or radio) in my home?

No – your digital meter operates at a low frequency and power level; it will not interfere with any other equipment in your home.

Do digital meters meet Australian Safety Standards?

Yes - all digital meters meet the wireless electro-magnetic exposure limits set by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) and enforced by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). 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.

All digital meters being installed meet current Australian Standards including those related to safety.

For more information, visit  http://www.arpansa.gov.au/RadiationProtection/Factsheets/is_smartmeters.cfm

Do digital meters cause health issues, like sleep apnea or headaches?

Digital meters are not dangerous. All digital meters installed are regulated by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and have frequencies similar to common household electronics like mobile phones and televisions. The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) 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.
http://www.arpansa.gov.au/RadiationProtection/Factsheets/is_smartmeters.cfm

For more information, visit:
NSW: Are smart meters dangerous to my health?
SA: Smart Meters
QLD: Digital Meters
VIC: Smart Meters Safety

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. 

I’m a renter and a site defect has been identified at my property during the installation of a digital meter. What do I do next?

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, get in touch with your landlord or real estate agency and ask them to address the problem. AGL can guide you through the process.  

I live in an area with limited telecommunications coverage. Can I still have a digital meter?

Yes – 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 is found to be too weak to deliver remote services (such as meter readings) to your home, the wireless communications signal may need to be switched off and alternative arrangements put in place. We’ll discuss these alternative arrangements with you if they’re necessary. 

I’ve had a digital meter installed and I’m experiencing issues with my electricity supply at home.

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.

I’m finding it difficult to pay my bills on time and I’m concerned about my electricity being disconnected remotely. What are my options?

AGL and other retailers are required to notify customers if a disconnection due to debt may occur. If you’re experiencing financial difficulties and have trouble paying your electricity bill on time, please contact us as soon as possible. AGL’s hardship program, ‘Staying Connected’, is designed to assist customers who are having a hard time paying their energy bills. Visit our Staying Connected page for more details.

Who has access to the information transmitted from digital meters?

Digital meter data is secure and confidential. There are strict arrangements in place for the protection of this information, whether it’s collected from your existing meter or a digital meter. The collection, use and disclosure of meter data is also subject to strict confidentiality rules and access to electricity usage data and other information is restricted.

By law, meter data can only be accessed by customers, the meter reader, your energy retailer and others who are entitled to it (e.g. authorised bodies, distribution networks or third party service providers with your consent).

Any personal information that AGL holds will be handled in accordance with our Privacy Policy, which is maintained at agl.com.au/privacy

How secure are digital meters and communication networks that transmit data?

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.

Where can I find out more about Power of Choice?

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

Each state government also has information available on Power of Choice:

QLD - https://www.dews.qld.gov.au/electricity/saving/digital-meter
SA - https://www.sa.gov.au/topics/energy-and-environment/meters-and-bills/smart-meters
NSW - http://www.resourcesandenergy.nsw.gov.au/energy-consumers/energy-providers/smart-meters-in-nsw
VIC - http://victorianenergysaver.vic.gov.au/bills-pricing-and-meters/smart-meters-and-how-they-work