South Australia proposes to mandate smart appliances for homes


A mandate is proposed for key appliances to be made available demand response ready for smart homes in South Australia.

The proposal forms part of the plan for the state’s homes to transform to ‘smart energy homes’ by using their appliances when the renewable energy supply is most abundant and cheapest.

Such appliances include air conditioners, electric hot water systems, electric car chargers and pool pump controllers.

“Retrofitting these appliances can be expensive and labour intensive, but new technology means that it’s cheaper and easier for South Australians if they come as a standard feature,” says Minister for Energy and Mining Dan van Holst Pellekaan.

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“At times, we have an overabundance of renewable energy and at other times we rely on more expensive fossil fuels to supply what we aren’t getting from the wind and sun. As old appliances are replaced over time, all South Australian homes can voluntarily become ‘smart energy homes’.”

The proposal is that the new appliances should have the demand response features built in as standard, but that it will be entirely up to customers as to whether or not they choose to use them.

A ministry statement says the proposal has been put out for consultation, although such a document has not been located online.

In addition, the consultation is stated to include suggested updates to the 2009 standards for water heaters which no longer reflect the technological and environmental capabilities of today’s systems.

Various trials are underway across South Australia. Among these, the local startup Amber Electric is piloting smart devices on hot water systems and pool pump controllers, while proposals are being sought for a smart electric vehicle charging pilot.

The proposals form part of the South Australia government’s ‘Smarter homes’ initiative. Other recent regulatory changes include the requirement for remote disconnection and reconnection of distributed generation, new solar inverter standards, dynamic export limits from distributed generation, minimum standards for smart meters and prescribed tariff structures.