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”.