ACCC issues draft decision on metering responsibilities in electricity retail markets

3 December 2004

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission today issued draft determinations on applications by the Victorian and New South Wales governments for authorisation of metering arrangements for domestic and small business electricity customers, an ACCC Commissioner, Mr Ed Willett, said today.

"The decision will increase competition in the provision of all remotely read interval meters in Victoria and New South Wales", he said. "This will ultimately enhance retailers' ability to offer different price and service packages to customers, including peak and off peak tariffs and time of use tariffs.

"Remotely read interval meters can be used to encourage demand side responses. At the moment, smaller electricity customers generally do not receive price signals to assist them in determining when to use electricity. Interval metering enables users to receive price signals for reduced consumption during peak periods.

"The decision encourages innovation in metering and will promote use of remotely read interval meters. It allows retailers to install remotely read interval meters that are suitable for smaller customers, without having to rely on the distribution company.

"This decision provides greater scope for retailers to innovate in remotely read interval meters without waiting for the rollout to occur. At the same time, the decision accommodates the Victorian Government's plan to install interval meters for all customers by 2013".

Interval meters record the consumption of electricity each half hour. This enables retailers to structure tariffs that more closely reflect the costs of purchasing power in the wholesale market, in which costs can vary on a half-hourly basis. Interval meters also facilitate more efficient pricing signals for distribution and transmission.

The Victorian and New South Wales governments each sought authorisation of arrangements that would enable electricity distributors to be exclusively responsible for the provision of metering services for accumulation meters, manually read interval meters, and data services for unmetered electricity supplies.

The ACCC is seeking submissions on the draft determinations by 21 January 2005. Submissions should be directed to: Mr Sebastian Roberts, General Manager, Electricity, GPO Box 520J Melbourne 3001 or by email to electricity.group@accc.gov.au

Release number: 
MR 267/04
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