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Following recommendations by the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC), all Aussie households (excluding Western Australia and Northern Territory) could have smart meters by 2030.1
Just like traditional energy meters, a smart meter is a gadget that measures your property’s energy use. But smart meters are, well, smarter!
They make a reading every 30 minutes,2 then automatically send the reading to your Electricity Provider. Depending on your set-up, you can then see up-to-date information about your energy use through an app, web portal or even an in-home display system.3
Simply getting a smart meter won’t automatically lower your bill. After all, your energy bill depends on your power use. But a smart meter will give you some opportunities to possibly lower your bill that a traditional meter doesn’t.
The benefits to a smart meter aren’t just financial. Having a better understanding of your energy usage and needs can help you make smart decisions across the board when it comes to energy plans and more.
If you’d like to get a smart meter, simply call your Energy Provider and ask for one. Installation costs can vary depending on where you live and your provider’s fees, so be sure to ask your provider. The good news is that you can also shop around at this stage.
So if you are considering switching Energy Providers, now could be a great time to get the ball rolling.12 Bear in mind that if you’re building a new home, or your traditional meter is faulty or no longer working, you will need to get a smart meter installed.13 (This only applies to states and territories under the jurisdiction of the Australian Energy Regulator, but we’ll explain more about that soon.)
Traditional meters have a dial display, making it harder to get a precise read. Smart meters, on the other hand, have a digital display with a button to press to see different information. Pressing the button will usually cycle you through:14
Most meters will have a label explaining how to use them and what each bit of information means, but if you’re not sure you can always contact your Energy Provider and ask. You may also be able to view your energy usage through a connected app or online.15
The AEMC is aiming for 100% of homes in Australia (except for in Western Australia and the Northern Territory) to have smart meters by 2030.16
However, this is only a recommendation and has not been rolled out as of yet. But if you live in any part of Australia, barring Western Australia, Victoria and the Northern Territory, it is a requirement by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) that all new and replacement meters are smart meters.17 So, if you’re building a new home or getting a faulty meter replaced, your Energy Provider will have to give you a smart meter.
Western Australia, Victoria and the Northern Territory don’t fall under the AER’s authority, but some local councils are in the process of doing their own smart meter rollouts too. In the Northern Territory, Power and Water is providing smart meters for all new and replacement meters,18 with all traditional meters to be replaced by 2034.19 In WA, the aim is for 1.2 million smart meters to be installed by mid-2027.20
If your name is on the energy account and there are no upgrades or electrical work needed on the existing meter board, you can have a smart meter installed at your rental property. This can be done without permission from the property owner.21 However, if work is required to the meter board, the owner needs to be contacted. This is because they will need to pay for this work.22 Additionally, it is a good idea to check that your rental agreement does not restrict you from having a smart meter installed.
That said, in the spirit of keeping the peace with your landlord, it’s a sensible idea to discuss it with them before going ahead and getting the new meter installed.
Concerned about data privacy? Your smart meter is nothing to worry about.
Your smart meter only collects data on how much electricity your home has used in a certain time period. It encrypts and then transmits this data, along with your meter ID number, to your Energy Provider over secure networks.23
Your smart meter doesn’t collect any personal information about you, including your name or address. Once your Energy Provider receives the encrypted data, they match the meter ID number with your account details in their own system to ensure that you are correctly billed. All information collected by your smart meter is protected by the National Electricity Law and the Australian Government's Privacy Act 1988.24
If you’re looking to find a suitable plan that is compatible with a smart meter or want to use yours more effectively, we’re here to help with your energy plan comparison. So start comparing Energy Plans from our range of providers* online today, or call us on 13 19 20.
1 Australian Energy Market Commission - AEMC on smart meters: 100% by 2030, new customer information, real-time data and protections
2 Victoria State Government - Smart meters
3 As above
4 NSW Government - Using smart meters
5 Energy Made Easy - Which type of tariff is right for you?
6 Victoria State Government - Smart meters
7 NSW Government - Using smart meters
8 As above
9 Victoria State Government - Smart meters
10 As above
11 As above
12 Australian Energy Regulator - Smart meters
13 As above
14 Department for Energy and Mining - Smart meters
15 NSW Government - Using smart meters
16 Australian Energy Market Commission - Smart meters are a key enabler in the transition to net zero
17 Australian Energy Regulator - Smart meters
18 Power and Water - Smart meter upgrade
19 Power and Water - Rollout of new digital smart meters underway
20 Western Power - Advanced Metering Infrastructure - the best way to meter electricity
21 NSW Government - Using smart meters
22 As above
23 Department for Energy and Mining - Smart meters
24 Australian Energy Regulator - Smart meters