Smart Meter Install - Will Bills Go through The Roof?

Morning,

I currently live in NSW and my energy supplier wishes to change my electric meter from my old one to a new smart meter.

Has anybody changed over and their bill has gone through the roof? I have heard some bad reviews about the new smart meters.

Comments

  • +68 votes

    If your bill has gone through the roof with a new smart meter, it's means that you have been underpaying for years.

    • No they want to change my meter to a new smart meter. I told them no they aren't changing it, but i wanted to know if people had changed to a smart meter and if their bills went up ?

      • +48 votes

        Let me make it clearer-

        If your your bill has gone through the roof after you the installation of a smart meter, it's means that you have been underpaying for years.

        Ours didn't.

        • It depends, if they change your mechanical meter to a smart meter, your tariff does not need to change under current rules. If it does, your bill could up considerably (as the Tariff changes combine with the particular rate/discount plan you have with your energy retailer, and the result may turn out far worse for you than many would appreciate (without doing a lot of math with your actual usage).

          A lot of people change to smart meter at the time they buy a solar, wind, or hydro generation system. In NSW and probably other states, this does force a tariff change from an 'anytime' rate (and/or off peak rate/s), to a TOU tariff, invariably increasing consumption charges. In NSW (and maybe other states), depending on the tariffs available at the time, the wholesale provider may even take this opportunity to put you on a tariff with a higher daily 'service charge' than it otherwise could have been!

          If you have just begun generating power for the first time and are now on a TOU tariff, these increases in your tariff will be offset (to some amount) by your system's generation, which is credited as a Feed-in Tariff (FiT). This means that many people do not realise that the energy wholesaler is all of a sudden benefitting financially more than they are from the investment they made- not just the energy retailer. ie that they do not need to be paying such high consumption charges, or may be able to access a higher FiT. Or that the retailer has not helped them optimise their charges to the lower side after the change. In many cases, the net effect of any discounts they were giving you evaporate in relation to market prices on your new tariff.

          Tip:
          0. If you get a smart meter, think very carefully about switching to TOU. The retail tariffs are almost quadruple the off peak rates, so unless your consumption occurs when most people are asleep, your bill can go up a lot. Be sure to check the discount your provider offers, and factor that in. In most cases, it won't be worth changing from an 'anytime' rate. (This demonstrates that the energy companies are profiteering from rate changes in a cartel-like fashion, as they do their utmost to influence the regulator's decisions, and have successfully increased their profits all along. Many argue that they also do this to minimise any work they do to maintain current infrastructure, or prepare it, and their businesses, for a future involving less carbon intensive generation).

          1. Check both your tariff is correct, and the rates your retailer charges are reasonable for that tariff. A lot of times the billing or wholesale provider can put you on a tariff with higher rates than another.

          2. Tariffs are not affected by retailer rates or the price of environmental certificates.

          3. Your retailer should help you confirm that your bill is based on the best tariff in your area, not just that the rates they charge, (based on that tariff), best suit you r usage.

          Hopefully I got all this right, else I'll get flamed hard. Anyhow, see here for more info on tariffs: https://help.energylocals.com.au/en/articles/1033891-what-ta...

      • +27 votes

        Metering (measuring how many kWh are used) and billing (price per kWh) are different things.

        What JimB is suggesting is that if you change your meter without changing your billing plan, the only reason your bills might go up is if your old meter was faulty and under reporting your usage.

      • +79 votes

        No they want to change my meter

        It's not your meter, it is their meter.

      • I told them no they aren't changing it

        I don't know how it is in NSW, but when they were rolling out smart meters in Vic there were a few people that tried this line, and it was made very clear that the meter is the property of the electricity distributor. If they want to change it, then they are allowed to.

        That being said, our bills didn't change at all when we got a smart meter. We could see hour-by-hour breakdown of our electricity usage, which helped a bit with knowing where to look for savings, but unless you change to a time-of-use plan then your bills will stay the same (and if you change to time-of-use your bills might go down, depending on when you use the energy).

        • In fact ToU generally means your bills will go down if you look carefully at your bills and change your behaviour to exploit it - eg put things like the washing machine, clothes dryer and the bar fridge on a timer, change your shower times. If they didn't I'd be looking for another provider.

          • @derrida derider: ToU has been fantastic for us while someone's been WFH. Power per kW hits under 5c, crank on all the washing machines. I joke that we should get a UPS for the router and modem so that when it goes up over 20c we can shut everything down and just work off batteries (work laptops)… got shot down, apparently that is where the line is for excessive tightarseness… :(

      • Check the rates first on their website.

        I heard its gone better.

        But for the most part Smart Meter has been another scam by the electricity company to charge people a lot more.

        Its why it hasn't taken off around Australia.

        Technically the peak $ should only be a bit more since most people aren't going to immediately get off peak. If a lot of people get off peak, that means peak costs comes down.

        Peak cost should only increase by a small %, and off peak and should should drop significantly as cost is so much lower.

        The reality of what happened in Victoria is that Peak went up a LOT and off peak was a small drop and shoulder was a small increase.

    • That's not correct. On a smart meter you are forced onto a different plan which could cost more (time of use or demand plan). On old meters (spinning dial) you pay a flat rate per kWh.

      • +15 votes

        TOU isn't mandatory.

        • Then you can choose the demand plan - either way you can't access the flat rate anymore.

          • @Quantumcat: TOU is mandatory if you’ve got solar panels, in NSW at least. Doesn’t mean you’ll be worse off though, i was heaps better off once we switched to TOU.

            • @tsigouni: Oh that's interesting. In ACT we can choose

              • +5 votes

                @Quantumcat: In VIC (no idea about the impact of solar), but smart meters in no way prevent you from having a flat rate plan.

                I've switched over to Amber, so it's sort of time of use (wholesale prices + monthly fee), but have otherwise been on a flat rate fee for years on a smart meter.

            • @tsigouni: https://energysaver.nsw.gov.au/households/understand-your-us...

              "Do I need to go on to a time-of-use rate with a smart meter?
              You do not have to, but you may want to.
              If you have a smart meter, you can stay on a flat rate, which is where there are no price changes for different times of the day when you are using energy. You may need to shop around to find a retailer who provides flat rate tariff to customers with smart meters."

              https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/time-of-use-tariffs-sola...

              I had a quick look at Origin Energy in NSW and their Origin Solar Boost plan lists a Peak Usage rate of 28.44c/kWh and Controlled Load of 15.63c/kWh (FIT 16c/kWh). That seems to indicate a fixed rate rather than TOU doesn't it?

              • @Grunntt: " Peak Usage rate of 28.44c/kWh and Controlled Load of 15.63c/kWh"

                HMMM …

                I'm with Origin as well,
                my rates are
                Peak Usage 19.7170 cents per kWh
                Controlled Load Off-Peak1 9.9560 cents per kWh
                Supply Charge 86.1030 cents per day

                But I don't have solar panels or a smart meter.

                • @Gekov: Origin gave me these rates after I threatened to switch to Tango Energy who also have about a 26% discount on the reference rates.

                • @Gekov: Wasn't suggesting these rates were any good - just selected their solar specific plan to illustrate the point.

                  eg their Origin Go plan has
                  Supply charge 71.36c/day
                  Peak Usage 23.32c/kWh
                  FIT 7c/kWh

                  In your rates I assume by controlled load-off peak you mean that is the rate charged for both types of supply as CL does not specifically mean off peak.

                  https://energylocals.com.au/electricity-tariffs-explained/

                  • @Grunntt: "CL does not specifically mean off peak."

                    In my case "Controlled Load Off-Peak 1" is the rate charged for my OFF PEAK hot water heater.
                    So, for me, it DOES mean off peak.
                    Not sure which "controlled load" you're referring to.

              • @Grunntt: Correct
                That's what i have
                2 meters.
                The normal meter (peak rate) and the off peak meter which is for my hot water system (controlled load) which only comes on at night between 10.30pm and 4.30pm.
                You cannot have an off peak meter for anything else at home.

              • @Grunntt: That’s interesting, thanks for the info!

                When the smart meter was installed AGL automatically switched me to a TOU plan. I rang them up to complain and they said I didn’t have a choice, and said something about Ausgrid rules. I just went on live chat and asked to move back to a flat tariff and after 45 mins wait this was the response -

                “I can see that you have time of use meter at your premise. So, the contract rates would be based on your meter tariff type.”

                • @tsigouni: Just thought I’d comment to say I had the same experience.

                  Ended up trawling through legislation and getting through to senior complaints in AGL; long story short - they said it was up to the retailer to offer Flat Rate for TOU Meter customers, and they would not offer it to me after the July 2020 AEMO changes.

                  Customers have a right to ask for fixed rates, but at retailer discretion. Supplier (I.e. Ausgrid) will charge rates to the retailer based on the meter, but that doesn’t stop the retailer from charging differently to the client.

                  Went to a different provider, ended up on TOU anyway, and my bills have halved due to the rate differences.

                  • @Dealhunter967671: Thank you! When I installed solar earlier this year AGL told me repeatedly I had no choice. I had to get a smart meter and I had to go on a TOU plan. I spoke to them yesterday and they confirmed this again.

            • @tsigouni: Not true. I have solar panels and pay a flat rate - AGL.

            • @tsigouni: Not true. I had mine upgraded without a change in tariff (was and still on single tariff). This is after solar install in Feb. I'm in Sydney

            • @tsigouni: Got solar 5 years ago, not on TOU,. grandparents got it last year still not TOU

              I've never heard of smart meter being compulsory in NSW.

              Smart meter was stopped after it was obvious that the electricity companies were scamming every in Victoria.

              edit: looks like its compulsory for new/replacement meter installations now.

              Avoid if you can.

          • @Quantumcat: You're being negged, but this is what I'd heard also.

            I'm only reading this to keep up to date in case I'm put in the same position.

            • @SlickMick: Just updated my electricity contract again.

              All the major electricity companies still have flat option with solar panels as an option.

              I'm guessing it would only be compulsory of you had the smart meter installed.

              Rollout was stopped years ago, because everyone caught on to what was happening in Victoria and would physically prevent the installations

              Smart meter is logical and should be fair. Reality is its not, the electricity companies were profiting heavily

              • @Baghern: Yeah it was crazy what happened in Vic. It has given smart meters combined with ToU a bad name.

                But stopping the rollout was dumb - all that was needed was for the govt to take a 6x4 to the head of the electricity distributor (the source of the problem more than the retailers), who as you say was just blatantly profiteering. In a properly regulated or competitive market smart meters combined with ToU should result in a large reductions in bills for most consumers.

                • @derrida derider: With the whole gold plating that shot up prices, shows Government aren't willing to properly regulate.

                  The concept of Smart meter is pretty awesome. Those who can will shift from peak to off peak. In the long term the overall price of electricity should go down for peak

      • Entirely dependant on your energy provider (which differs from your energy retailer).

        As of Jul 1 in QLD, all customers with a smart meter will be moved onto a demand plan with their retailer. And Energex is doing mandatory switchover to 100% smart meters for all customers by (I believe) 2022.

        • Do you have a source for this please? 1st I've heard of that.. With AGL currently

          • @ziggy1312: I did a big post up about it a while ago when I found out about it all.

            • @trankillity: These are significant assertions of a mass ranging move from flat rate to demand effective in Qld Energex in less than two months yet I have received absolutely zero notice of it, and remain on a flat rate Mojo Energy plan with a smartmeter and PV. Doubtful it is accurate.

              • @kipps: Read the links provided. They're all from Energex, and all confirmed by EWOQ/AER.

                If the providers aren't ready, they will likely be eating the demand charges directly from Energex unless there's been further delays of the activation of this since I did all the research.

      • On a smart meter you are forced onto a different plan which could cost more

        I would assume it will depend on the retailer, but I dare say most would use the "change" to the smart meter to try to impose a change of plan, but as far as I'm concerned you don't have to accept it (that may mean you have to refuse the smart meter but).

    • Smart meter can possibly reduce the bill if you switch to time of the day billing and can potentially monitor use during peak periods.

    • Why are you worried about a smart meter? It is possible your old meter is overcharging you as much as it may be undercharging you.
      Smart meters give you access to all sorts of plans (some good, some bad but pick the plan that works for your use), you cannot get solar without one so it future proofs it and let's say the smart meter does charge you more (as you were underpaying) then get solar panels and pay almost nothing on electricity.

    • @ spoonman169. That's all they are, stories. Un less your current meter is reading incorrectly your bill won't change.

      I'm with EA and have had a smart meter installed and if I hadn't have chatted to the sparkie when he did the change over and briefly turned the power off I wouldn't have known it had been done.

    • If your usage goes up drastically after the smart meter install, please let us know here.
      The OzB Energy Advisory Team will be hard at work assisting you then.

      • bit late then. I reckon he's doing the right thing finding out first, which is exactly why I'm here reading this

        • he's doing the right thing finding out first

          Gee whiz! What exactly have you found out so far by reading a bunch of sarcastic comments?

          • @DoctorCalculon: Well, I did find someone that was of same opinion as me, that getting a smart meter can mean giving up control, leading to increased bills.
            So dozens of people would have learned something if they were here to learn and not just be a nuisance.

            But you have a point, not everyone here makes a valuable contribution ;)

            • @SlickMick:

              that getting a smart meter can mean giving up control, leading to increased bills.

              Possibly the most nuttiest thing I have read on OzBargain today.
              Did you have more control over your ancient analogue meter?

              I have been using a smart meter at my property for more than a decade. At times, my bill has gone up and sometimes down, and that is a corollary of my usage patterns.

              What evidence do you have to support smart meters consistently yield higher power bills other than conspiracy theories?

              valuable contribution

              When someone posts ridiculous assertions without a shred of evidence, then they deserve to have all the sarcastic comments thrown at them.

              • @DoctorCalculon: Do you understand that with smart meters they can make you pay more in peak periods?

                It wasn't more control with analogue, it was less, obviously. Thus they couldn't force you into plans where you pay according to time of use.

                When did I say " smart meters consistently yield higher power bills"?

                you've moved away from sarcasm now, but I don't think the value has increased

            • @SlickMick:

              I did find someone that was of same opinion as me

              Sounds like confirmation bias.

            • @SlickMick: Getting a smart meter gives you much MORE control if you go for ToU!

  • +3 votes

    so for the sake of clarity, your saying the exact same energy usage but bill has doubled?

  • It's not about the type of meter you have but how you are charged, are they changing to "time-of-use" pricing? If they are you bill might change, if not it will probably stay the same.

  • My bill went down. I had an old meter replaced for free (by Mojo energy). They were able to switch me to the cheapest plan once I had a smart meter installed, so it was a bit cheaper with the new meter.

    I suspect they give a discount because having lots of smart meters gives them data they can use to create the most profitable pricing plans, and maybe sell the data to other energy providers and producers for predicting demand and stuff.

    • i take it you're satisfied with the switch to mojo so far ?

      the energymadeeasy web shows they're cheapest for my usage, would like to hear others' experience with them before switching

      • It's been fine.

        These providers don't do the emergency stuff anyway, another company handles that. So it's just

        1. Is it cheap? and
        2. Is the billing OK? (easy and no mistakes).

        And mojo is great for those for me so far.

    • I switched my two properties to mojo (and smart metre) and my bill went down as well. I stayed on the flat (not time if use) plan. I think it's called "all day breakfast".

      • They can already cut the power to your area any time they choose, there is little advantage to only cutting off people with smart meters.

    • I suspect they give a discount because having lots of smart meters gives them data they can use to create the most profitable pricing plans, and maybe sell the data to other energy providers and producers for predicting demand and stuff.

      Having a smart meter also means they're not paying someone to physically come to your place to read your meter.

      • "Having a smart meter also means they're not paying someone to physically come to your place to read your meter."

        Too bad that sudden, unannounced electricity rationing to support an increasingly wobbly electricity grid will come with that eh?

        Don't say you weren't warned.

        “Giving society cheap, abundant energy would be the equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun.” Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University
        “The prospect of cheap fusion energy is the worst thing that could happen to the planet.” Jeremy Rifkin, Greenhouse Crisis Foundation
        “If you ask me, it'd be a little short of disastrous for us to discover a source of clean, cheap, abundant energy”
        Amory Lovins, The Mother Earth-Ploughboy Interview, Nov, Dec 1977, p.22

        These quotes explain the fanatical opposition by warmunists to clean, emissions-free, safe (with proper engineering) nuclear power.

        Had They Bet On RELIABLE, CHEAP Nuclear, Not UNRELIABLE, EXPENSIVE, DEADLY Renewables, Germany & California Would Already Have 100% Clean Power! https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2018/09/11...

        • Too bad that sudden, unannounced electricity rationing to support an increasingly wobbly electricity grid will come with that eh?

          Whilst I do believe smart meters can be used to disconnect supply (i.e. unpaid bills), I doubt they'd be used for load shedding.

          And too bad that you're sitting there, happy with your old analog meter "They can't cut my power now!" and then the lights go out because they switched the breaker at the substation supplying your area…

          “Giving society cheap, abundant energy would be the equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun.” Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University
          “The prospect of cheap fusion energy is the worst thing that could happen to the planet.” Jeremy Rifkin, Greenhouse Crisis Foundation
          “If you ask me, it'd be a little short of disastrous for us to discover a source of clean, cheap, abundant energy”
          Amory Lovins, The Mother Earth-Ploughboy Interview, Nov, Dec 1977, p.22

          Whilst at a glance I can think of a few things that could be concerning, I believe the pros of cheap fusion energy outweigh the cons.

          These quotes explain the fanatical opposition by warmunists to clean, emissions-free, safe (with proper engineering) nuclear power.

          Had They Bet On RELIABLE, CHEAP Nuclear, Not UNRELIABLE, EXPENSIVE, DEADLY Renewables, Germany & California Would Already Have 100% Clean Power! https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2018/09/11...

          Why did you need to add the bolded terms to your "quote" - they are literally not in the headline nor mentioned at any point in the article.

        • These quotes explain the fanatical opposition by warmunists to clean, emissions-free, safe (with proper engineering) nuclear power.

          Look, if you're going to screech, at least screech the whole quote.

          If you ask me, it'd be little short of disastrous for us to discover a source of clean, cheap, abundant energy because of what we would do with it. We ought to be looking for energy sources that are adequate for our needs, but that won't give us the excesses of concentrated energy with which we could do mischief to the earth or to each other

          I'm not sure how you think this supports your argument for nuclear power. Nuclear plants take about 12 hours to start, therefore basically need to be running all the time - inherently producing excess power.

  • +39 votes

    Will Bills Go through The Roof?

    Ours come through Australia Post…