ALMOST two in three electricity smart meters installed in some parts of Victoria are not fully working as the deadline for the contentious rollout looms.
About 350,000 devices fitted in SP AusNet’s region are yet to go “live” with remote meter reads, the Herald Sun can reveal.
However the power company, which covers Melbourne’s eastern suburbs and the state’s east and northeast, says it is on track for the December 31 target.
Victorians are being slugged at least $124 a year for the $2.3 billion scheme.
The new meters record electricity use in 30-minute grabs and transmit data via radio waves.
The change allows for tracking of real time energy use to manage bills, new types of electricity charges that vary by time of day, and remote rather than manual meter reads, connections and disconnections.
Jemena and United Energy have the lowest installation rates of 67 per cent and 69 per cent, with SP AusNet at 79 per cent.
Powercor has fitted 90 per cent of its meters, CitiPower has done 91 per cent.
All except SP AusNet reported the majority of meters installed were operating to specification and remotely communicating.
SP AusNet spokesman Lyall Johnson said this was an unfair comparison, as the company’s process differed.
“SP AusNet has consulted with the Government and regulator on our targets, and we are confident we will deliver on our commitments,” Mr Johnson said.
Jemena and United Energy said extra crews would speed up installations in the rollout’s final months.
United Energy’s Stuart Allott said impeded meter access and an early focus on setting up the communications network explained its installation rate.
While it could not guarantee all meters would be fitted by the target, it expected to have visited every customer to either install or arrange installation by then.
Energy Minister Nicholas Kotsiras said: “It is expected that distribution companies meet their obligations for the rollout by the end of 2013.”