People are halving their energy bills – but is this service available to you? 2



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When Tina Lyons received a quarterly electricity bill of $1100, she knew something had to change. Fortunately, with the help of a “smart meter” and other technologies, Tina has halved her household power costs.

A “smart meter” is a small electronic device, which records the energy consumption within your home every hour. This information is then communicated back to you on a daily basis.

Tina receives smart meter updates onto her iPhone. “(This information) helped me understand what appliances were using the most amount of energy”, she said.

These days, Tina has halved her power bill. “At first it was like any kind of new technology, you don’t particularly want it”, she explained. “(However) immediately I saw reductions”.

Smart meter technology has previously been rolled out throughout Victoria, by the state government. When the rollout finished last year however, smart meters were hardly a success story. In fact, they were barely utilised.

“Victoria was a complete disaster”, explained Stephen King from Monash University. “With any new technology you can take an engineering approach or a consumer-focused approach”.

“Victoria took an engineering approach. There may have been cost savings in total, but by reducing consumer choice they introduced smart meters that weren’t designed to meet consumer interest”.

New South Wales has since begun offering smart meters to households who want them. “Installing a smart meter significantly improves your ability to manage your energy consumption”, the state government said.

“Smart meters will be made available to electricity customers across NSW, through a voluntary market-led rollout”, the NSW Department of Industry, Resources and Energy added.

“This is designed to ensure competition in metering services coupled with customer choice”.

Households in South Australia and Queensland can also receive smart meters, but they are installed by AGL or Origin Energy on a purchase-only basis.

Given how successful smart meters are in reducing household electricity costs, some everyday Aussies would like to see these devices rolled out on a national scale.

Many people believe the federal government should offer smart meters free of charge, for the sake of our environment and economy alike.

As one person on Twitter commented, “We should look at a smart meter in every home”.

Would you like to see smart meters installed throughout all Australian homes? Should this service be free of charge? Is your electricity bill overly expensive?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. ‘Victoria was a complete disaster’ – yes because they forced smartmeters on unwilling consumers – but mainly because stay-at-home during the day people like poor pensioners suddenly found the new peak pricing (increased from say 10c to 40c/kWh) meant they were suddenly receiving quarterly electricity bills like $2000 – which they simply couldn’t afford !

    So they were ringing up your shock-jock radio stations – who said it was an outrage and unfair – so NSW quietly shelved their plans to do the same.

    Looks like enough time has passed that the spruikers hoping to profit from smartmeters (clue – it ain’t consumers) reckon it’s worth another try.

  2. That is the problem. As with most things they are designed to benefit and maximise company profit not consumer expenses. At home folk (not necessarily a choice) will always suffer. Pensioners surely will. Air con is always an expensive operator. Now, apparently even trying to be eco friendly and use solar is going to be chargeable, Solar users make the energy, and the elec company is going to make a system to charge you for not using the normal amount (not covering costs of poles and infra structure) but then sell what you make to non solar users for the price they now charge. New home builders need to be making their homes fully solar powered and refusing electricity connection. There would soon be a charge/levy of some sort imposed. Wanna bet?

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