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.

The reforms relate to how metering services are provided and how data is managed and used. 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 right here; We’ve also updated and clarified certain terms and definitions, which you can view here.

 


 

Digital electricity meters give you energy your way with:

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    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, increased innovation in product and service design and more choice for you.

Until now, electricity distributors (the companies that provide local infrastructure like poles and wires) have largely 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, can not provide advanced functionality including half-hourly readings and remote access or support more flexible billing.

However, 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 and offer a digital meter upgrade.
If you would like a digital meter but have not been contacted, you can request one by contacting our service centre.

What are the key benefits of digital meters?
  • Remote meter readings - removing the need for estimated bills and onsite meter reads.
  • Increased energy information - access to greater electricity consumption information to help with the management of electricity costs.
  • Access to innovative products and services - enabling actively engage in electricity production, consumption, and export (where you have solar panels and battery storage), to reduce costs and earn revenue from your investment.
  • Remote connection and disconnection services - making it easy, efficient, and cheaper to move properties.
  • Early detection of supply issues – resolving problems with your electricity supply including as a result of blackouts, system-failure, and critical power management faults.
If AGL offers me a digital meter, do I have to accept?

No – if AGL has contacted you to offer a digital meter upgrade, you’re not obliged to accept the offer and can continue to use your existing meter if it functions accurately.

Note that from 1 December 2017, if your existing meter is found to be faulty or has reached its typical end-of-life, you must follow your retailer’s instruction and provide safe access for the installation of a digital meter.

I haven’t received an offer from AGL to upgrade my meter. Can I request a digital meter?

Yes – if AGL hasn’t contacted you about a meter upgrade, you can request a digital meter installation.

If you’d like to enquire about a digital meter, or a product or service that may require a digital meter, simply contact us.

I rent my property. Do I need my landlord’s permission to install a digital meter?
To install a digital meter, AGL only needs the consent of whomever occupies the premises (i.e. the electricity customer). We don’t require permission from the landlord to install a digital meter.
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

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 your local Energy Ombudsmen for dispute resolution.

My meter has been replaced with a digital meter before December 2017. Can I get my old meter back?

Yes – but only if your State regulation permits a meter reversion. Contact us and we’ll follow the meter reversion policy in your state.

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

Yes - simply contact us or your chosen retailer to assess if you are eligible.

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

From 1 December 2017 when the new rules take effect, all customers, where possible, will have a digital meter installed. Simply contact us or your chosen retailer to arrange.

I have a digital meter. Can I still move my electricity service to another retailer?

Yes – having a digital meter should not prevent you from transferring to another retailer.  If you experience any difficulties, start by contacting your existing retailer.

If you continue to experience transfer issues, the independent Ombudsmen in your State may be able to help. 

Can my digital meter be remotely operated?

Yes - digital meters are equipped with remote functionality to disconnect and reconnect, as well as features to protect against hazards such as electric shock and fire damage.

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 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.

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’1.
1 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

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 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 guidelines 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 metering data is also subject to strict confidentiality rules, and access to electricity usage data and other information is restricted.

By law, metering 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).

AGL and other retailers must comply with the Privacy Act Cth. (1988), which includes the National Australian Privacy Principles; these principles set clear restrictions on the use, disclosure and storage of personal information.

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 can’t be disabled. These links do not use the internet, providing further security.

No customer names or addresses are attached to the transmission of metering data. The meter serial number and National Metering Identifier (NMI) are matched up with customer information only after it has reached the central data station, which is hardened and secured.

Will AGL and their metering service providers sell consumption data to third parties?

Digital meter data is secure and confidential. AGL and our metering service providers must adhere to tight privacy controls and compliance with the Privacy Act Cth. (1988) and the Australian Privacy Principles, which cover the collection, use, disclosure and storage of personal information.