New Zealand’s green party proposes smart meter bill


David Clendon,
Green MP
Wellington, New Zealand — (METERING.COM) — March 3, 2010 – New Zealand’s Green Party of Aotearoa has introduced a smart meter bill aimed at requiring providers of smart meters to inform domestic consumers of their options when upgrading to smart meters, and setting minimum requirements for the provision of smart meters.

The Smart Meters (Consumer Choice) Bill, proposed by Green MP David Clendon, thus seeks to give effect to the recommendations of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment in a June 2009 report “Smart electricity meters: How households and the environment can benefit,” according to the Bill’s explanatory note. This report found that most smart meter deployments in New Zealand were planning to omit the functionality that is key to delivering environmental and consumer benefits (see New Zealand’s smart meters not smart enough?).

On information disclosure the Bill proposes that domestic consumers should be offered an in-home display and a smart meter capable of measuring both import and export of electricity, and that they should be offered a choice of tariffs, including cost reflective tariff, average price tariff, or a low fixed charge tariff.

The proposed minimum requirements for smart meters are:

  • Possesses an internal watch dog on critical components
  • Password protected in accordance with the Electricity Governance Rules
  • Time synchronization from back office software in accordance with the Electricity Governance Rules
  • Provision for controlling such loads as would otherwise have typically been controlled by a ripple control relay on site
  • Provide a services access interface using commonly used protocols (such as XML or already existing data swapping file formats) through which all authorized service users can access the services provided via the AMI system on equal terms
  • Maintain a time-stamped event log, available to both service users and system auditors as appropriate, to capture critical AMI system parameter or state changes that could impact, directly or indirectly, on metering data or financial accounting accuracy
  • Programming for measurement within the meter separated from the programming ability for cumulative registers and other load control or added value functionality
  • Provide HAN functionality, not just capability.

The proposed Bill also provides offences for failure to meet the requirements for disclosure of consumer information and the minimum standards for smart meters, and it allows the Governor-General to make regulations regarding the provision of smart meters.

“I am pleased to be able to give consumers more choice and save them money,” said Clendon. “The Bill ensures smart meters really will be smart and that consumers are offered a choice of tariffs and information that give them power to control their electricity costs.”