Smart meters by stealth

The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) made a new rule last year which is intended to “open up competition in metering and facilitate a market-led deployment of advanced meters”.  The new arrangements commence on 1 December 2017 in South Australia, Queensland, New South Wales, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory.

Under the new rule, consumers have the right to opt out of having their existing working meter replaced with an advanced (a.k.a. smart) meter where a retailer is undertaking a new meter deployment; however, this option is not available for new connections or where a faulty meter is being replaced.  Opt-outs are also not permitted where there is a prepayment meter and a customer subsequently requires life support equipment; in these circumstances the prepayment meter will be immediately removed and replaced with an advanced meter.  In addition, opt-outs are not permitted for maintenance replacements, where sample testing has indicated existing meters may become faulty.

Is this new rule the slippery slope towards pushing all customers subject to the National Energy Customer Framework on to wireless smart meters?  Although the new rule pointedly specifies the services which the meter must be capable of providing, rather than the technical functionality, the reality is that a device which is capable of wirelessly emitting pulsed microwaves 24 hours a day, every day, will be installed.

Even in cases where there is no existing smart meter network in place and a new or replacement meter is required, a communications-ready meter is to be provided.  The AEMC has acknowledged that where there is no right of opt-out, such as for new connections, faulty meters or maintenance replacement meters, some customers will seek to prevent the installation of a smart meter; in such instances, where the customer has communicated a refusal, provision has also been made to install a communications-ready smart meter. However, in these circumstances the remote access capabilities will not be activated until the customer consents to this.  There is no requirement to notify customers, other than informing the customer of an interruption to their supply of electricity, if a meter is being replaced due to it being faulty or if a maintenance replacement is being undertaken.  It is therefore imperative that customers put in place measures to signify their refusal of a smart meter in advance.

The new rule does not apply in Western Australia or the Northern Territory, as separate energy frameworks apply in these jurisdictions.  Victoria has only partially adopted the National Energy Customer Framework, and is yet to implement this new rule as law.

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Energy Council requested the new rule. COAG Energy Council members are comprised of energy and resources ministers from the Commonwealth, each State and Territory, and New Zealand.

For further information, see:

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10 Responses to Smart meters by stealth

  1. Anonymous says:

    Put up trespassing signs for starters. Rules are not laws, requirements are not laws either. This is just another game to get these devices in.

  2. Anonymous says:

    You have to give notice to come onto private property this is law and you need consent, so in fact if they were to come onto your private property it would be trespassing if you have not given consent. A requirement not to give notice does not it make it legal. This is a notice of what they intend to do trespass laws would apply to this requirement.
    Is this a rule or law? A rule is not a law. It has to be law and then that would make the State’s responsible for this law liable for damages. So perhaps we might get the names of those that made the rules and hold them personally liable and responsible for this rule. The State of Victoria would if adapting these rules, be liable for any harm. Any one giving orders to install a smart meter without consent is also liable and responsible.
    State of Victoria can then be held labile and responsible.

  3. Laurence Edwards says:

    And so they proliferate their poison further.

  4. Solar Sam says:


    John Pierce brings extensive energy market, financial market and economic policy experience to the role. He was formerly Secretary of the Federal Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism, following 12 years of service as Secretary of the New South Wales (NSW) Treasury and Chairman of the NSW Treasury Corp. Prior to his time at Treasury his energy business and operational experience was at Pacific Power and the Electricity Commission of NSW. He also has experience in the processes of government at state and federal levels, having worked at the most senior levels in policy development and provision of policy advice to ministers, cabinets, ministerial councils and the Council of Australian Governments. He holds a BCom, Hon. (UNSW).

    Mr Pierce was nominated for appointment by state and territory energy ministers in June 2010.


    Neville Henderson has an extensive professional background in energy and utilities. He came to the AEMC from his former position as an Executive Director with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) where he provided advice to both public and private sectors on energy utility operation, regulation, strategic and business planning, electricity and gas industry restructuring, and on market issues. Prior to joining PwC Mr Henderson was with the National Grid Management Council (NGMC) 1994–1997, where he led the development of market and trading arrangements for the National Electricity Market. Mr Henderson holds a BCom (University of Melbourne) and a Diploma of Mechanical Engineering (Footscray Technology College.

    Mr Henderson was nominated for appointment by state and territory energy ministers and commenced his role as a part-time Commissioner in October 2009.

    Dr Brian Spalding has held key implementation and operational roles in national and state electricity markets since their conception in the early 1990s. He was Chief Executive Officer of the National Electricity Market Management Company (NEMMCO) where he was responsible for the day to day operation of the National Electricity Market and the electricity power system for south and eastern Australia. In 2009 he became Executive General Manager Operations of the new Australian Energy Market Operator. Dr Spalding holds a Bachelor of Science, a Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical Honours Class 1 and University Medal) and a Doctor of Philosophy in power system analysis from the University of New South Wales.

    Dr Spalding was re-appointed by the Governor of South Australia from April 2016.

    Are these guys the problem?

    • Anonymous says:

      If these guys are the problem, that’s where your letters should be going. Put trespass signs up they can’t trespass and they would also have to give you a copy of the law. Ask for them the paperwork.

      • Man on a mission says:

        What Anonymous means by trespass signs is “No Trespass” signs

        • Anonymous says:

          Man on a mission, trespassing signs don’t have to say no trespassing. They can say” do not enter” or private property or keep out. On the advice i have been given any one of these signs are trespassing signs and i am sure most people reading my post would understand this.
          Trespass applies is another sign you can use. Different signs same meaning. So you obviously did not understand what i meant and should not speak for me.

  5. Paul R says:

    This is disgusting! They make it sound like as if they were doing us a favour or that those who do not comply with a “smart” meter is somehow “disrupting progress” or something. More f$%#ing bureaucracy to justify their genocide!
    This is their way of fighting back at those who wish to protect themselves. The cowards hide behind laws that suit them.
    I hope when the time comes, everyone who has taken part in this whole inhumane act gets punished appropriately.

  6. Gerhard says:

    What a lot of Garbage, amongst other nice legal wordings this one is great. – “In addition, opt-outs are not permitted for maintenance replacements, where sample testing has indicated existing meters may become faulty.” All what a energy provider has to do is send anybody around and “test” !!!!! The result will be (surprise surprise) the existing meter may become faulty, and voila, it needs to be replaced. What a nice definition “may become faulty” Is there anything in this universe what will not “may become faulty” sooner or later.

  7. Christine Crawford says:

    We were in SA recently. I had a look at a couple of meters. They definitely weren’t analogue! Christine

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