Get your kettles ready: smart meters are coming to help manage your energy bill

By Ceyda Erem ·

Energy retailers in eastern and southern parts of the country are preparing for a massive supply of smart meters to be installed in Aussie homes and small businesses, according to The Australian.

The change has come in response to a decision made in 2015 by the Australian Energy Market Commission as the government takes on rising prices and potential summer blackouts.

While smart meters are already required in Victoria, from December 1, households in NSW, Queensland, South Australia, ACT and Tasmania can also expect the devices to replace their old meters.

RELATED: Queensland’s drastic energy plan - $400 cashback and a 26 degree air-con cap

With the rising talk of an energy crisis, the meters are said to help Aussie households and small businesses manage their electricity consumption with real-time updates every 30 minutes. This allows users to monitor and update their electricity usage habits - potentially reducing the dreaded summer energy bill.

“Suddenly you become a lot more aware of how you are using power and that’s when you see the benefits of a smart meter,” South Australian retiree, Geoff Perkins told The Australian.

The move to raise awareness about energy consumption seems to be on the rise with a number of initiatives around the country hoping to ease the financial burden of high energy bills that Aussies may be all too familiar with.

For example, under the ‘demand management’ strategy, Victorians will earn credits on their energy bill should they choose to switch their air-cons off for as little as 30 minutes during peak hours. Heading north, Queenslanders will be asked to keep their air-cons set at 26 degrees as apart of a 5 step plan to manage energy demand, while Aussies in NSW will be able to receive discounts for purchasing energy-efficient appliances.

As households across the country await the arrival of their smart meter, now is a good time to brush up on your energy knowledge. Check out our smart meter 101 guide or have a quick read below.

What is a smart meter?

A smart meter is a device that uses technology to measure and record your electricity consumption every 30 minutes, which automatically sends readings to your energy provider.

How are smart meters different to traditional meters?

Smart meters are able to give you up-to-date data on your energy usage - a regular meter cannot. Traditional meters can only take down the amount of electricity that has passed through it, meaning you will only be able see the amount of energy you've used since someone last read the meter.

What are the pros of using a smart meter?

Accuracy - You can trust that a smart meter’s reading is accurate with no human error. You will also have access to real-time data on your electricity consumption, so you can adjust your electricity habits accordingly.

Simplicity - A smart meter can easily be disconnected if you ever move and reconnect when someone else moves in.

Reliable - If you happen to suffer from any power issues, your smart meter will directly inform your electricity distributor.

What are the cons of using a smart meter?

Health issue - Smart meters use short bursts of radio waves or low level radiofrequency electromagnetic energy (EME) to send your meter reading to your provider. These EMEs have been noted as a potential health risk, but according to the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA), there has been no proven evidence to support this claim.

Breach of privacy - There is a privacy concern with smart meters, as they have access to all electricity activity that goes on in your home, like which appliances are used and for how long. Should this information be passed onto a third party without your consent, it could lead to a breach of privacy.

Thinking of switching providers before your smart meter arrives? Check out our Energy Cost Cruncher today.

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Ceyda Erem
Ceyda Erem
Money writer

Ceyda Erem is Mozo’s authority on Energy, as well as having broader expertise as a personal finance writer. She loves to put her researching and writing talents into stories that help our readers to make more informed financial choices, whether that’s about finding the best energy deal or writing about the latest sneaky bank tricks. Ceyda has a Bachelor of Arts (major in writing) from Macquarie University.