Power of Choice

Power of Choice


Power of Choice is a Government-led industry wide program with new rules providing customers more opportunities to use electricity products and services, primarily through allowing access to new digital (smart) meters. With digital (smart) meters, customers will be able to access more detailed electricity consumption data providing more information for better decision making about electricity use, products and services.

The new rules under Power of Choice mean that older-style meters will be phased out and replaced with digital (smart) meters for residential and small business customers.

What are the different electricity meter types?

Let’s compare. Here’s a breakdown of a number of different electricity metering types and differing responsibilities for installing meters:

Basic (accumulation) meter Interval meter Digital (smart) meter

(via Power of Choice)

How does the meter measure energy usage?  From one point in time to another (usually 3 months) Every 30 minutes Every 30 minutes
How is the meter read?  A meter reader physically attending the property, locating the meter and recording the usage reading A meter reader physically attending the property to download the readings Automatically sending usage data over mobile networks.

The digital meter also allows two-way communication
Who is responsible for installing the meter?  Your distributor  Your distributor Your retailer

How will a digital (smart) meter benefit customers?

Some of the features and benefits of digital (smart) meters include:

  • Remote meter reading capability – this means no more estimated readings or the need for customer to provide access to the meter readers.
  • Access to detailed energy information – customers can access specific breakdown on energy usage in half an hour blocks to help monitor and manage electricity usage
  • Remote Power Turn on and Turn Off capability – making it easier (and lower cost) for customers to move in and out of their homes.
  • Accessing data via in-home display: customers can monitor own usage in almost real time using web portals with in home displays that are now available. This provides more information and ability to control daily energy use.
  • Accessing solar system data: customers can easily monitor what percentages of solar and mains electricity they are using and change usage patterns to take advantage of the solar generation.

What if I already have a digital (smart) meter?

Most customers in Victoria already have a digital (smart) meter. Some customers in NSW, SA and Qld may also have digital (smart) meters. For these customers there is no need to change your meter.

If you are unsure of what type of meter you have, you can contact us.

What if I am building a new home?

If you are building a new home with a completion date after 1 December 2017, you will need to have a digital (smart) meter installed. For customers unsure of what is needed, you can contact us to discuss.

What if I don’t want a digital (smart) meter installed?

If a residential or small business customer’s meter requires replacing after 4 December 2017, the rules under Power of Choice dictate that the replacement meter will need to be a digital (smart) meter. The installation of the new digital (smart) meter will be organised by your electricity retailer.

Are digital (safe) meters safe? Do they cause health issues?

All digital (smart) meters must comply with the electromagnetic exposure limits developed by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency. The same limits apply to things like mobile and cordless phones, Wi-Fi routers and baby monitors.

The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency have reviewed the impact of frequency from smart meters and have stated “Health authorities around the world, including ARPANSA and the World Health Organization (WHO), have examined the scientific evidence regarding possible health effects from smart meters. Current research indicates that there are no established health effects from the low exposure to the RF EME from smart meters”. You can read more here.

How can I find out more information on digital (smart) meters?

For more information please refer to relevant State Governments information pages for QLDSANSW and Vic.
You can read more about the rationale and background to Power of Choice on the websites of AEMO and AEMC.