We have recently trialled upgraded meters with customers at Wujal Wujal and Hammond Island. It gives them the capacity to tightly manage their electricity use and the associated cost by using the new Paywave powercard in their meters to initiate electricity access.

The cutting-edge meters provide for two-way communication and extensive data flow back to Ergon.

“We will be able to tell how many times customers go into emergency credit, how often they self-disconnect, regularly receive energy usage stats and regular meter reading,” Isolated Systems Customer Partnership Russell Rowbotham said.

“This extra data will help us to better understand our customers and help us become more customer focussed in our interactions with our communities.”

Phase-one of the trial has relied heavily upon extensive customer engagement, getting users on board and promoting the benefits of the new meters.

Members of the nine-person project team - some of whom are pictured here - were drawn from Ergon's Isolated Systems Customer Partnership, Customer Service field crews and Retail representatives and stepped up their on-the-ground engagement in the lead-up to the changeover to new meters. Ergon personnel aboard a boat

They were highly visible in the communities, auditing metering assets, reviewing hot water system tariffs, and getting to know customers.

An added benefit arising from the doorknocks and local information sessions was that the team identified an extra 16 customers who were eligible for concessions.

The project has delivered other wins for customers, including a bigger window for access to emergency credit and ability to remotely change customer tariffs.

The next phase of the project will also see many of the new meters being linked to the customer’s Powercard, facilitating the $320 annual Queensland electricity rebate.

Customer feedback will also shape plans to extend the project into more than 30 other remote communities over the next couple of years.