The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) Directions Paper identifies inefficiencies in the national smart meter roll out and proposes a number changes to the regulatory framework for metering services which could optimise the speed of smart meter installations in the National Energy Market (NEM). As a vocal proponent of the roll out of competitive digital metering services, AGL shared its findings, observations and insights with the AEMC in our recent submission.
The AEMC’s Directions Paper follows its December 2020 consultation into the Regulatory Framework for Metering Services to review the effectiveness of the smart meter roll out in NEM since the Power of Choice reforms into effect in December 2017. You can also read AGL’s response to this consultation here. During the consultation period, fundamental inefficiencies and barriers that continue to impact the pace at which manually read basic meters are replaced by digital smart meters were identified. For example,
- Physical issues at the customer’s premises preventing the installation of a smart meter and challenges replacing meters in multi-occupancy residences.
- Strict regulatory compliance requirements relating to exchanging malfunctioning meters that exacerbate delays in installing a smart meter.
- Fragmented jurisdictional requirements for the installation of meters and access to key smart metering services (for example, remote reconnection and disconnection services are still not available to smart meter enabled customers in New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia).
AGL comments extensively on the potential changes put forward in the AEMC’s Directions Paper. AGL believes that holistically addressing these and other barriers will naturally accelerate the speed of the roll out while improving the customer experience. Four years into the Power of Choice reforms, AGL does not believe that some of the more substantial changes such as transferring metering responsibilities from energy retailers to distribution businesses are necessary, and are likely to cause further delays to the roll out smart meters.