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Australia Govt: AEMC sets out metering options for a smarter energy future

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The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) has released a directions paper with recommendations for accelerating the rollout of smart meters for households and small businesses. Digital smart meters will be a vital tool in the grid of the future.

Smart meters accurately measure electricity usage and power quality. They can share information wirelessly and more quickly to energy consumers, retailers and distributors.

‘Consumer awareness of smart meters remains low and research we commissioned has found it likely that one-third of people who have a smart meter are unaware it exists, let alone getting any benefits from the data,’ AEMC Chair Anna Collyer said. ‘We need the aggregated data that sufficient numbers of smart meters could provide on usage and power quality before we can really rely fully on these resources to power the grid.’

The directions paper includes recommendations to improve smart meter take-up. These include requiring retailers to install smart meters when consumers request them and reducing delays in replacing meters.

The benefits of smart meters remain largely unrealised for homes, businesses and the grid because the rollout so far had been slower than expected. Victoria made smart meters mandatory in 2011 but in NSW, ACT, Queensland and South Australia only 25% of premises have a smart meter. Tasmania is slightly higher at 35%.

Potential benefits of more consumers having smart meter access include:

virtual power plants where neighbourhoods could trade rooftop solar power and other stored energy
remotely identifying outages or impending power supply problems without needing consumers to discover and report the issue.
The directions paper will be open to submissions and discussion for the next 6 weeks, with a draft report later this year and a final report early in 2022.

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