Power of Choice for customers
To provide you with more options to manage and control your electricity usage and power bills, the electricity industry introduced ‘Power of Choice’ from 1 December 2017.
Power of Choice (PoC) is a suite of reforms to the electricity regulatory framework. Its part of a national emphasis on helping you to better understand your energy usage and how it directly impacts the electricity network.
These changes also allow us and associated energy companies to better respond to electricity industry changes, market changes and technological changes.
Customers living in some areas of our network (eg isolated areas) are exempt from the PoC reforms. See Power of Choice exempted areas information (PDF 342.4 kb).
The PoC reforms are designed to:
- Assist consumers in making more informed decisions about electricity usage
- Expand competition in metering and related services
- Provide more efficient and flexible energy pricing offers for residential and small customers
- Introduce new products and services into the Electricity Market.
What are the key changes?
- From 1 December 2017, all new electricity meters for residential and small business customers will need to be digital meters. This means that older-style meters will be phased out and replaced over time until all meters are digital
- All Type 4 Digital Meters will be installed by a competitive Meter Provider
- The introduction of a new role in the market called the Metering Coordinator. The Metering Coordinator will responsible for coordinating the meter installation at a premises by the Meter Provider
- A customer’s Electricity Retailer and the associated Meter Provider will become the primary contact for work relating to Type 4 metering.
What does this mean for you?
- From 1 December, you will deal solely with your chosen Electricity Retailer for all requests relating to the installation, update or maintenance of metering services
- You will see more than one service provider conduct work at your premises when you submit a request to install, update or maintain your electricity supply (e.g. our Field Crews, Meter Providers and Electrical Contractors).
How does this benefit you?
The introduction of this new digital metering technology will give you more control in managing your electricity usage. Your Electricity Retailer will be able to discuss with you how these changes will/can benefit you in more detail:
- Easy to monitor power usage
- Accurate meter readings
- More timely data – data will be captured in 30 minute intervals.
What does this mean for us?
- Our Field Crews will no longer be responsible for installing or replacing meters at premises in regional Queensland, as this will now be completed by the Meter Provider
- We will continue to be responsible for the supply and maintenance of electricity and its associated network and services to premises in regional Queensland
- We will remain responsible for all Type 6 Metering until they are replaced by a digital meter and will continue to be responsible for Type 7 Metering (unmetered supply).
Frequently asked questions
What is a Type 4 Digital Meter?
Type 4 Digital Meters, also known as Advanced and Communications Enabled Meters, have the ability to take half hourly electricity consumption readings. These metering types also allow two-way communication and can be accessed remotely.
Do I have to change my metering?
You don’t need to change meters immediately. However if after 1 December 2017 your meter needs to be replaced (due to defects or similar issues) or you need a new meter for any other reason, then your replacement meter will need to be a Type 4 Digital Meter.
Your Electricity Retailer will be able to discuss and organise the replacement with you.
What if I don't want a Type 4 Meter?
You will need to discuss the option of opting out of a Type 4 Digital Meter with your nominated Electricity Retailer. Another type of metering is available that does not have communications capability. These meters are known as Type 4A Digital Meters, however are not recommended as many of the benefits of having digital meters are lost.
Will I be charged for the new meter?
Your nominated Electricity Retailer is now responsible for determining the cost of the new Type 4 Meter(s) and the billing associated with it.
Can I change the frequency of my bills?
You will need to discuss your billing frequency with your Electricity Retailer, however it is likely that they will provide you with a monthly billing option.
Does this mean I can have my tariff changed without a site visit?
Yes, the remote capacity of the new Type 4 Digital Meter will provide the capacity to switch tariffs remotely.
Are Digital Meters a health concern?
All digital meters are regulated by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). The ACMA’s regulatory arrangements require wireless devices, including digital meters, to comply with the exposure limits in the ARPANSA RF Standard.
For further information visit the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy webpage.
Where can I find out more about Power of Choice?
The Australian Energy Market Operator (Australia’s independent energy markets and power systems operator) and the Australian Energy Market Commission (which sets the rules that govern the electricity and natural gas markets) both offer information on the PoC review on their websites.
The Department of Natural Resources Mines and Energy also provides information on its website.
Will the change in metering affect my Solar Feed-in Tariff?
The change of metering should not affect the Solar Feed in Tariff you are currently receiving. However, you should discuss this further with your nominated Electricity Retailer.
Who do I call to check on the status of metering work at my premises?
From 1 December 2017, your nominated Electricity Retailer will be the best contact for the status of metering installation/changes at your premises.
Can I still call Ergon for electricity supply faults?
Yes. We remain the distributor of electricity in regional Queensland, and therefore are responsible for ensuring the safe supply of electricity.