Australia: Smart meters must remain customer’s choice says treasury


Australian Treasurer, Scott Morrison, has criticised the use of smart meters if they are forced on customers. He asserted that the choice should remain with the customer whether to use smart meters or not.

Morrison is more adamant about this right to choose, especially in light of the recently imposed dynamic billing system, raising the cost of electricity during peak times.

Mr Morrison has advocated for a “consumer centric approach”, affirming it is ultimately “the consumer’s choice”:
“We favour very much a consumer driven approach around these sorts of things and when customers want to use their own demand management devices”

“Where those things benefit consumers and they want to take them up to help manage their energy consumption then I think that provides real opportunities for them”

“But when it comes to how and when I see that as the customer’s choice”.

The controversial remarks are in response to the 133 page parliamentary committee report, recommending smart meter roll out to all consumers by the Australian Energy Market Operator. The report aims to address concerns relating to grid reliability during peak times.

The bipartisan report states smart meters and dynamic billing are essential for managing electricity grids. But power pricing experts said the government had to be careful when considering flexible pricing plans, because they could trigger higher bills for many households who could not afford it.

“Installing smart meters is a good thing because they can monitor energy use, but households shouldn’t be forced into flexible pricing tariffs and demand tariffs because unless you’re clued in to your demand, costs that can be added to be your bills can be incredible,” Canstar Blue energy pricing expert Simon Downes told The Australian.

Smart electricity meters have been rolled out after data revealed South Australia and Victoria are unable to produce sufficient energy during extremely hot weather, where wind is limited.


Image credit: Stock