Smart meter price pain as power spikes – The Australian

Electricity smart meters have been recommended for all households and businesses, a move that would raise the cost of power during peak periods in a bid to lower demand, as data shows Victoria and South Australia are unable to produce enough energy on extremely hot days with little or no wind.

A bipartisan federal parliamentary committee report released yesterday says the introduction of smart meters and dynamic billing is critical to managing the electricity grid as demand grows and different types of generation come online.

As federal and state governments clash over the National ­Energy Guarantee and renewable energy policy, the House of ­Representative committee recommended the Australian Energy Market Operator consider a rollout of smart meters to all electricity users. It said the meters would help households and large-scale consumers to manage prices and habits by allowing networks to charge consumers more during times of high demand and less when there was an energy surplus.

The committee, chaired by ­Nationals MP Andrew Broad, made 23 recommendations in a 133-page report that laid bare how “the reliability of the grid at times of peak demand has become of particular concern”.

Mr Broad said Australia faced a “trilemma” of needing to meet ­climate change commitments under the Paris Agreement, ensuring stable supply so the “lights don’t go out”, and mitigating rising electricity costs. Smart meters and dynamic pricing should become part of the solution, he said.

“We were very mindful that there was criticism of the price of smart meters and we didn’t want to load more costs onto the grid, and one of the discussions we had on the smart meter was, does it alter behaviour, and generally speaking, no, people don’t look at them, but it will become part of ­demand management particularly as people understand how to use it,” Mr Broad told The Australian.

The federal government is ­imploring state governments to back the NEG, which is ­focused on boosting energy security through dispatchable power projects such as coal, gas, hydro and storage.

Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg has upped his calls for the states and territories — including South Australia and the ACT — to support the plan, as new analysis of the National Energy Market shows Victoria and South Australia struggled to cover their own peak energy needs when the wind isn’t blowing. “Despite the best ­efforts of AEMO, the supply-­demand ­balance in South Australia and Victoria is precarious,” Mr Frydenberg said.

“There is no better illustration of this than the need to rush in expensive, polluting diesel generators that use up to 80,000 litres an hour as back-up.”

The data shows that in Victoria, installed capacity is currently 10,938MW. If there is no wind generation, however, this decreases to 9442MW, more than 1000MW below Victoria’s highest peak demand of 10,446MW on January 29, 2009. In South Australia, installed capacity is 4916MW. If there is no wind generation, this decreases to 3110MW, below the state’s highest peak demand of 3380MW on January 31, 2011. The data does not include emergency generation from the Reliability and Emergency Reserve Trader scheme and 175MW of diesel generation in South Australia as both operate outside the market.

“What we are seeing this summer only reinforces the need for more dispatchable power, which can come from coal, gas, hydro and storage,” Mr Frydenberg said.

He is preparing to meet state ministers at a Council of Australian Governments energy council meeting next month, where he will confront South Australia and the ACT, who have both pushed back against the NEG.

SA Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis reiterated his opposition to the NEG. “Our power supply has been more reliable than the coal-reliant grids in the eastern states,” he said. “South Australia has experienced two heatwaves this summer, and our system coped very well.” He said the independent Australian Energy Market Commission recently modelled power bills in South Australia to come down by about $300 over the next two years, in part due to additional competition from new renewable energy projects

Victorian Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio hit back at suggestions the grid was unstable. “NSW almost plunged into darkness last year, but was bailed out by energy generated in Victoria through the National Energy Market — a fact Josh Frydenberg conveniently ­ignores,” she said.

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation gave evidence to the committee that while investing in renewables and storage in ­advance of coal capacity closure would minimise costs to consumers and maintain energy security, smart-technology solutions were important for improving system resilience and lowering costs. The committee recommended that AEMO work with retailers to ensure bills were dynamic, providing customers with control over how much information they received in relation to cost and usage.

Smart metres measure and ­record electricity usage every half-hour. The data is collected by electricity distributors who pass the information to retailers for billing purposes. They use the real time data to change prices accordingly to demand. Victoria is the only state where smart ­meters are compulsory.

Samantha Hutchinson and Graham Lloyd, The Australian 

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6 Responses to Smart meter price pain as power spikes – The Australian

  1. Anonymous says:

    Victorians were lied to. They were told that they had no choice but to accept a smart meter by their “government” and by their utility company, with both being fully aware that Victorians very well had the choice to refuse for any reason of their own freewill choosing. The fact that Victorians had and still have the choice is now openly declared fact.

    The people who perpetrated this lie to the Victorian people need to be brought to account. All the individuals concerned need to to be criminally charged and sentenced. All the individuals who bullied, threatened, intimidated, stalked and coerced Victorian citizens need to be criminally charged and sentenced.

    These 8@$+@RD$$$$ need to brought to justice for their heinous acts of criminality. This includes all the individual politicians involved, various Utility Company executives and all the male AND FEMALE phone staff who thought it was OK for them to put on their Nazi boots and ruthlessly bully their customers in their employer’s campaign of coercion. These people are ALL individually accountable.

    I believe that capital punishment needs to be reintroduced in Australia and that all these individuals ought to be hung without mercy for their lies and for the seriousness of their crimes which constituted both a betrayal of Australian democracy and an utter violation of human rights.

    If these individuals know what’s good for them, they need to NOW allow any person who does not want this type of device on their premises for ANY reason whatsoever, the option to allow removal of the device without repercussion. If this does not happen, let these people be assured that their deeds have not been forgotten and that there are forces out there that are going to eventually bring them to their knees.

  2. Ingrid says:

    Isn’t it fact that all those that complain about power bills being high, more than likely have smart meters. Why do we have constant complaining about electricity bills in Victoria when most of Victorian’s have smart meters? A smart meter is not going to make you turn off your air conditioner on a very hot day. I see stories all the time on the news about how to reduce your electricity bill, isn’t that what smart meter’s are for. Why all the complaining? Smart meters should of taken care of higher bills and peak demand, most people have them. Victorians shouldn’t have any problems with high bills, nor should Victoria have a problem with peak demand as smart meters were supposed to take care of this. The fact that so many stories are appearing regarding high electricity bills clearly shows that smart meters don’t work. Heat can be a health hazard to all of us, will people need to put their health at risk or pay a huge electricity bill. What happens when someone has to choose between electricity and buying food, both are essential.

  3. C S says:

    “Victoria is the only state where smart ­meters are compulsory” ???. There’s the real propaganda.

  4. Paul says:

    Love to add this: Smart meters are not compulsory in Victoria! I don’t have one; don’t want one; will never have one. They dramatically increase power costs, enable monitoring of your personal habits, cause illnesses…….. the list goes on. In addition they are part of the UN’s Agenda 21 (now 2030). Wake up Australia before it’s too late!

  5. TL says:

    When will the government quit this BS? Victoria has had smart meters for about 5 years and where is the evidence that Victorians are using their smart meter to reduce peak electricity consumption? And where were the cost benefits to the consumer? Bills have skyrocketed, regardless of incentives to switch off during peak times. And then they close Hazlewood power station AFTER telling us that there isn’t enough electricity for peak periods. AFTER seeing that green energy is not working in SA. The two states that have rushed headlong into smart meters or green energy are the two states listed as having insufficient energy generation.

  6. Nicholas Marjolin says:

    I have never expected this kind of utter drivel by people who have no interest in customers.Bringing the price up at peak demand is exactly what the power companies had in mind when they got smart meters installed in many homes in Victoria. It is an utter disgrace. Sadly all those who believed they would pay less for power with having a smart meter now,will realise they have been had by all these con men who are going along with this nonsense by the power companies.What a damn shame indeed.

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