Smart meter mandate coming for Australia?


By: SGN Staff

The Australian government has announced its support for a national rollout of smart meters, and its energy minister has pledged support for dynamic pricing. It's all part of an effort to, among other things, come up with a solution to the inequities of some consumers subsidizing the power use of others.


Those subsidies amount to about $330 per year during peak demand periods for some consumers, a sore spot for a country where citizens are showing increasing dissatisfaction with higher power bills.


An article in The West Australian quoted a statement prepared for Energy Minister Martin Ferguson's address during the government's Energy White Paper launch: "This is clearly an unfair cost, particularly on those less able to afford it. Rectifying the situation requires an integrated approach: consumers must be given the right signals through flexible time-of-use pricing to decide about their energy use.


"If we are to provide consumers with more choice then we also need to promote better information through tools, like smart meters."


The country's Productivity Commission has said residential electric bills could be cut by up to $250 a year, in part through smart meters' real-time information on power consumption and cost.


Only one Australian state, Victoria, has already mandated smart meters.


Government officials are expected to address energy reform next month during a Council of Australian Governments meeting.


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