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Latest Discussion Topics
Vic Energy Minister to commission Smart Meter safety auditWed, 29 Jan 2014 02:01 pm By admin
Victorian Energy Minister Nicholas Kotsiras has today announced he will be commissioning an independent 3rd party to perform a safety audit on smart meters.
Mr Kotsiras said the public needs to be convinced smart meters are safe and restore confidence in the system.
"I have got a smart meter and it's right outside my bedroom, and I believe they are safe, but again, people simply don't believe me and that's why it's important to get a third perspective" he says.
A report investigating the performance of power companies has found Smart meters remain the most significant issue for the community, followed closely by billing problems, contracts and tariffs. From the review, 69% of people's concerns with smart meters were about health concerns, which promoted the independent third party audit. Mr Kotsiras said the audit will "show once and for all that smart meters are safe".
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Smart Water Meters on the horizon for Victorians Mon, 13 Jan 2014 05:21 pm By admin
Victorian water supply authorities are considering a rollout of Smart Water Meters.
If there were any winners for electric smart meters, it is the electricity companies themselves.
So why would customers take kindly to 'Water smart meters'? Mr Kevin Hutchins from South East Water today explained that the cost of the new meters (if they are rolled out) will not be passed onto customers, and they could detect water leaks much quicker.
However, he says South East Water are shying away form the term Smart Meter, instead labelling the meters 'Digital water meters', possibly to disassociate them with the electric version, which has drawn its share of criticism.
Like the electricity smart meters, Water customers could end up paying the cost of the new digital meters.
The digital water meters are powered by a battery, and reads the water consumption every hour. But this raises questions. How long does the battery last? Who bears the cost of replacement? Will hundreds of water meter readers potentially lose their jobs? Will the cost savings from not having to pay salaries of meter readers be passed onto consumers?
The estimated cost per meter is up to $50 if the distributors buy them in bulk.
Like the electric smart meter, once invented, there would be no putting the genie back in the bottle.
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The Victorian energy regulator has given approval for electricity distributors to increase metering charges in 2014.
Different supply authorities have differing fee increases, with Jemena having the highest increase of almost $194. Powercor will increase their metering fee by a modest $115.
The distributors are experiencing difficulties clawing back costs associated with the rollout of Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), and will now increases the fee they charge for smart metering, which will be directly passed onto consumers by retailers.
Unfortunately, the Victorian Liberal Party, who under the Baillieu leadership, decided in 2012 that the Labor-initiated rollout of AMI should continue, did not consider future price rises, and have ultimately led to higher costs for householders.
Approved 2014 Charges (Single Phase Meter)
SP AusNet $160.21
United Energy $141.33
Source: Herald Sun
This metering charge increase comes only days after it was announced that customers who have refused to have a new smart meter would be slugged up to $150 extra per year.
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The electricity supply authorities in Victoria are planning to slug customers extra $150 per year on top of their normal electricity bills if they refuse a smart meter.
Those who refuse to have the new digital meters installed (as part of the Advanced Metering Infrastructure rollout) will be charged the extra fee, due to the authorities deeming it 'unfair' because everyone else has allowed the new meters to be installed.
It comes a week after SP Ausnet have announced that their AMI rollout completion date has been delayed, and will miss the end-of-year deadline.
Because nearly every premises has the new metering installed, supply authorities are now finding it uneconomical to send meter readers out to take readings of a handful of analogue meters, and hence are attempting to slug customers more to make up for the costs. It is a growing trend where authorities are using more aggressive methods to force customers into accepting the new meters.
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