The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) has set a new date for the final determination of its smart meter deployment rule change. 

The new date is set for 28 November 2024, which allows for further consultation on enhancing consumer protections. The decision follows stakeholder feedback on the draft determination published on 4 April 2024.  

AEMC Chair, Anna Collyer, said that the AEMC recognises the critical role of smart meters in Australia’s energy transition and remains committed to accelerating their deployment across the National Electricity Market (NEM).  

“Smart meters are the digital foundation for a modern, connected, and efficient energy system,” Ms Collyer said. 

“They turn power into knowledge, benefiting everyone from system operators and network businesses to households with and without solar. However, we must ensure that as we accelerate this rollout, we have robust safeguards in place to protect consumers.” 

The draft determination proposed a consumer safeguards package that requires retailers to provide: 

  • Thirty business days notice before any retail tariff changes 
  • Information for customers on the new retail tariff structure and how to optimise energy usage 
  • Historical bill estimates under the new retail tariff structure, where available 

Stakeholder feedback highlighted concerns about potential negative impacts on customers, such as unexpected bill increases following tariff structure changes. In response, the AEMC will conduct additional public consultation to explore strengthening these protections.  

“We have heard ongoing concerns about customers experiencing unexpected changes to their tariffs when smart meters are installed. It’s critical to the success of the rollout that we thoroughly address these issues,” Ms Collyer said 

“We are not stepping away from smart meters or their accelerated rollout. Rather, we are taking the time to address concerns and avoid potential issues as we scale up deployment. This extension allows us to balance the urgent need for smart meter deployment with ensuring consumers are adequately protected and informed.”  

A directions paper will be published in mid-August 2024, seeking further stakeholder input before the final determination in November. 

Featured image: Monkey Business Images/ 

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