Smart meter rip-off stopped | Herald Sun

POWER companies have been caught trying to grab an extra $500 million from Victorians to pay for the smart meter roll-out.

The Australian Energy Regulator has moved to block a bid by CitiPower, Jemena, Powercor, SP AusNet and United Energy Distribution to charge $1.24 billion to build and run the smart meter system from 2012-15.

The regulator said the cost should be $760 million.

The decision has been hailed a major win for Victorians struggling with soaring electricity costs.

Under the regulator’s draft decision, households would save up to $60 a year during the smart meter roll-out, depending on provider.

St Vincent de Paul spokesman Gavin Dufty said the draft findings were brilliant for customers, provided power companies were not able to overturn them before the report was finished in October.

“It’s good that the AER has knee-capped the distributors,” he said.

“This means that the projected $100 increase on electricity bills next year will be halved. Hopefully the framework is strong enough so the distributors can’t appeal and win before the decision is finalised.”

The Herald Sun revealed in April the total cost of the bungled smart meter program had soared to $2.32 billion, adding $100 a year to power bills.

Power companies had wanted to increase charges by 61.7 per cent between 2011-15 but, if yesterday’s AER draft ruling is confirmed, the rise would be cut to 20.3 per cent.

The future of the smart meter program is still uncertain as the State Government reviews the roll-out to determine if, and under what circumstances, it should continue.

Energy Minister Michael O’Brien said he would ask the regulator to support “fair charges and an affordable and secure electricity supply”.

Energy Networks Association spokesman Hugo Armstrong said companies would not comment before reading the AER draft.

The regulator signalled that power companies had failed to justify the expenditure they claimed was needed for the second phase of the roll-out.

Consumer Action Law Centre energy spokeswoman Janine Rayner said the regulator had served customers well by restricting the power company increases.

“We still have concerns with the fact consumers are still paying for these smart meters and paying these costs before the benefits are being realised,” she said.

“It is a draft decision so the businesses will still have an opportunity to provide extra substantiation.

“We will be asking the AER to continue to provide the same level of scrutiny to ensure the businesses are demonstrating the need for these costs.”

via Smart meter rip-off stopped | Herald Sun.

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1 Response to Smart meter rip-off stopped | Herald Sun

  1. Tom Bradley says:

    LATE 2013 WE INSTALLED a 5 kw solar. Our account had been $450/500 each quarter.Ergon eventually replaced our old meter with a smart meter after a couple of months. We were generating up to 30 Kw per day and making sure high power usage was organised for daytime use only. We received our first full term account !!! After spending a small fortune on solar our new account was about the same as before installation of solar, $460. We could not believe the account staying at our previous level. I had been reading the daily readings about 10 days before we complained to Ergon, as it was showing daily use of 42kw, down to approx 20kw every day, before I had about 30 days record of this usage. Interestingly, within 2 or 3 days, the daily usage had dropped to an average of 7 or 8 kw per day. Our power usage had not changed at all from high to low readings, and yet we had a major reduction in the meter showing our usage. It is still showing about 8 kw each day and that is 30 days from when we complained. We had requested that they test the meter. The guys came and looked at the switch board, telling us they only had one test meter in their region, and it would need to run the test over 14 days. After about a month they returned and said that they were unable to fit the test meter because it was a new type of test meter and they were unable to follow the instructions in the book. Another week past before they returned, this time they would have spent 40 minutes, and advised us that the meter was fine, with a small advantage to us, showing about .028 of a watt. I had previously asked them if this smart meter could be altered from the main power source, the same as they are able to switch the hot water control. They denied that this could not be done to the smart meter. I thought it quite interesting that when he spoke to us after he did the final check, he just happened to mention that these new meters were not able to be altered by ripple control similiar to the hot water times. He also suggested that the excess power that we had on the first account was probably due to us not realising when we were using something consuming a lot of power. I would be interested to hear from others if they had had similar experiences with their power supplier.
    Tom Bradley…Queensland. .

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