Smart meter rollout is linked to a rise in disconnections

VICTORIA’s electricity smart meter rollout has been linked to a rise in disconnections.

And fees to pay for the rollout have also pushed up power prices, putting a strain on low-income households, a state inquiry has been told.

Annual disconnections over unpaid bills have more than doubled in five years. Last financial year, 34,448 residential customers were cut off.

The Consumer Action Law Centre has recommended distributors be forced to check on householders and assess their circumstances before acting.

“We are particularly concerned … there is the potential for households to be disconnected in greater numbers,” senior energy policy officer Janine Rayner said.

Retailer Simply Energy has told an Essential Services Commission review of financial hardship arrangements that smart meters were one of the reasons for more cut-offs.

The technology can be used to pull the plug remotely, and “this alone will have increased disconnection rates over the last two years or so”.

Simply Energy noted it had also experienced a “significant rise” in those applying to hardship programs or failing to pay bills because of rising prices.

Charges beyond retailers’ control — including the cost of the smart meter rollout — were among the reasons.

Karen Collier, via Herald Sun (Page 2, 18 June 2015)

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10 Responses to Smart meter rollout is linked to a rise in disconnections

  1. Rik says:

    Explain why my bills have gone up when I dont have a smart meter and I’ve swapped all my light globes for LEDs and have a few batteries around which are supposed to drop the bills but every bill is higher than the last.
    I’m so glad I didn’t get a smart meter then my bill would be even higher.

    • Paul says:

      Rik, you are paying for a smart meter whether you have one or not!

    • Jason says:

      Hi Rik….FYI
      Your bills are going up not because of the distributors, but mostly due to the greedy RETAILERS.
      In my last THREE-MONTHLY bill the price of Peak-hour power increased by 18.5%, which extrapolates to 75%p.a IF there are no further increases.

      The price of OFF-Peak power increased by 5.8% = 23.2%p.a.

      And my personal pet hate, since I can’t reduce usage no matter what I do:-
      Service to property charge increased by 18.7% = 59.8% p.a.

      Rang Origin’s ‘Dispute Resolutions’ and gave them a blast. I was told it was all SPAusnet’s fault because they’re responsible for the ‘posts and cables’.

      Rang SPAusnet and gave them a blast, and ended up talking to a most helpful fellow. He told me ~ and sent a confirming letter ~ that the retailers set the prices at their own discretion because the industry was unregulated and depended on competition to restrain prices. (eg Dodo apparently charges 97 cents per day as compared to Origin’s $1.50)

      According the the advice (and I have it in paper) SPAusnet charges Origin about 27 cents per day ($99.14 PER CUSTOMER PER YEAR) based on long-term agreements to provide distribution ~ poles,cables, meter-reading, etc.
      Origin charges me just on $1.50 per day ~ a 556% mark-up without adding ANY value to the service.
      Anywhere else that’d either be illegal or the cause of riots.
      Purely due to such unjustifiable price-rises my return on the (solar) Feed-in-Tariff has halved in recent times ~ but fortunately has already paid for the installation because I got in early.
      However, as a matter of principle I’ll be taking my business away from Origin and suggest any other Origin customers consider doing likewise.
      And if the situation worsens I WILL disconnect and go stand-alone.

      At the cheap prices for components and options for various combinations these days I’d suggest that’s a useful alternative for anyone. (even for tenants, who own the system and can take it with them if they shift house.)
      Alternatives aren’t difficult, nor need they be all that expensive. Email me dabbbles@gmail.com if you’d like info./suggestions.

      • Anonymous says:

        I am with AGL and also have a high supply charge, higher than my neighbour who is with a different retailer.I received a letter from AGL at the start of the year, the letter calmed that the price increases were because of many reasons. Of course they did not list the reasons. I did send an email to ask why the price increase, never got an answer.

      • Anonymous says:

        My daily charge through Momentum Energy averaged 73.41 cents per day (half of yours) and my (single) rate for electricity 22.08 cents per KwH. Maybe you should shop around for a better deal.
        You can also use LED globes, if you haven’t already done so.
        In addition, you may have an electric hot water service, which can account for almost half of an electricity bill. An instantaneous gas HWS is much more economical.
        Unfortunately, going ‘stand alone’ is not a viable option at present, as electricity storage systems (batteries) are not yet efficient enough or are too expensive, although these barriers will be overcome within 4-5 years (see flow batteries, fuel cells, etc)

  2. Reblogged this on The GOLDEN RULE and commented:
    This called progress, technology to improve customer service?
    Why do I not believe that?

  3. Robert Scott says:

    Well it’s started, if people don’t think we are in “1984” ( the book) just look about you, the difference being not government but big business controlled. Money, the the twenty first century’s god.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Send this article to Ms D’ambrosio, i am sure these people have really benefited from the possible cancer causing transmitter rollout. They need to fix this problem, before it gets even worse or they should resign. Hasn’t any one wondered why we have not been told when the costs are going to stop? They haven’t told anyone when these costs are going to cease.
    I wonder what all those advocating for possible cancer causing transmitters have to say now? These must be the benefits they were referring too. Disconnection, huge bills, health problems, stress and maybe cancer. They weren’t lying about benefits.

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