Smart meters Australia: regulator looks to increase competition among providers


Michelle-Groves-AER-CEO-2014Australia’s energy regulator is considering opening up the country’s metering sector to allow competition between providers in a bid to give consumers greater choice.

The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) is looking at proposals to allow open access to meter functionality and information, said Michelle Groves, CEO of Australian Energy Regulator in a speech at a trade conference in Melbourne earlier this month.

Increase competition

Ms Groves, giving an addressing on the rise of the Australian prosumer, said: “Metering is an important area of reform and is a good example of a potentially contestable service.”

Groves highlighted how smart meters offer consumer greater participation and choice in the market by allowing them to switch to a flexible retail offer or take-up demand-side participation products, which she said “could also be provided competitively”.

Change in regulation

Regulation however has not kept pace with advances in metering technologies, said Groves.

She said: “The existing arrangements inhibit investment in the provision of metering technology that can support the uptake of a range of new and innovative energy products and services.

“There is currently a degree of exclusivity in who can provide metering services in the National Electricity Market.

Australian metering rules still mandate that regulated networks are exclusively responsible for provision of the meters that the majority of residential customers have on their premises.

Groves also hinted that metering reform will be considered by AEMC as part of a wider transformation of the industry towards a “smart grid future”.