Frequently asked questions
Why has the implementation of ToU tariffs been deferred?
The Government has delayed the introduction of ToU tariffs to ensure Victorian consumers fully understand the changes to pricing structures before they are introduced and to allow more work to be done to protect vulnerable customers.
What is a ToU tariff?
A Time of Use tariff (TOU) is a price structure that varies based on the time of the day or week. Time of Use charges are higher in peak periods and lower in off peak periods.
Smart meters support the application of Time of Use tariffs.
Once Time of Use tariffs become available, all energy used in off-peak times can be charged at off-peak rates. Currently only off-peak electric hot water and slab heating appliances attract an off-peak rate.
If the ToU tariffs are not going ahead in the short term, do I still have to pay the metering charges?
Yes. The roll out is still proceeding as planned and the existing charges relating to Service to Property and Metering Charges still apply. The Government announcement is related to network Time of Use tariff introduction for smart meters only.
When will ToU tariffs for smart meters be available?
The Government has announced a temporary moratorium on the introduction of network Time of Use tariffs.
Will I still be getting a smart meter if network Time of Use tariffs have been delayed?
The roll out of smart meters is unaffected by this announcement and installations will continue as planned.
Will my new smart meter be removed now?
No, the roll out of smart meters is unaffected by this announcement and installations will continue as planned. Installed smart meters are not impacted by this decision.
I'm on a ToU tariff now, does this mean I will no longer have access to off peak supply?
No, no changes will be made to your current tariffs as a result of this announcement.
Why are there 'Metering charges' on my bill?
From 1 January 2010, for transparency, Origin has chosen to split the Metering charges from your existing Service to Property charge on your bill. This separate Metering charge incorporates:
- the charges you already pay for your existing meter; and
- the additional costs of replacing these meters with a smart meter over the next 4 years
To keep costs fair the community, payments for the smart meter rollout are being recovered from all customers of electricity over a number of years. As with most enhancement programs/projects to the electricity network, the costs are recovered from everyone at the same time.
The alternative of paying for the project street by street as the smart meters are installed would make the project much more expensive for everyone. The charges are regulated by the independent Australian Energy Regulator; these charges are regulated and approved by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER), who is responsible for determining the costs are fair and reasonable. They cover the new IT technology and network infrastructure upgrades as well as back office administration and the meters themselves. The charges form part of your electricity bills from 1 January 2010.
Smart meter FAQs
What is a Smart meter?
Unlike the old type of meter, a new smart meter will, in the future:
- record your electricity usage in 30 minute intervals
- be remotely read, meaning a meter reader will not come out to your home or business;
- provide greater detail around your electricity consumption, meaning you will have the opportunity to better manage your electricity usage;
- make remote connection of your electricity supply possible in the future. This means faster connections when moving home or office;
- help your electricity distributor find outages and restore supply more quickly;
- assist electricity distributors in managing their electricity networks more efficiently, which means lower costs in the long run; and
- provide opportunities for new products and services for your homes and businesses.
How are the costs of the smart meter being recovered?
In the same way you pay for your current meter and electricity infrastructure (electricity poles and wires), the costs of the smart metering system will be recovered through your electricity bill over a number of years. The costs and charges are regulated by the independent Australian Energy Regulator, which is responsible for making sure that distribution business charges are fair and reasonable. The charges form part of electricity bills from 1 January 2010.
Do I have to have a smart meter?
Yes. In order to improve our electricity delivery and management the Victorian State Government has mandated that all residential and small business electricity customers have a smart meter installed by the end of 2013.
Ensuring the universal application of smart meter technology will allow the development of smarter electricity supply infrastructure on a state wide basis. This will help customers better manage their energy use and broaden the community’s ability to respond to climate change.
Do I own the smart meter?
No, the smart meter is owned by your electricity distribution business.
What are the timeframes involved in the rollout?
Installing the new smart meters in every Victorian household and small business will take place between September 2009 and the end of 2013.
How will I know if my meter's been replaced with a new smart meter?
Your electricity distribution company will be in touch by mail to let you know that your property is scheduled for a smart meter installation. On the day that the smart meter installation takes place, the qualified meter installer appointed by your electricity distribution business will knock on your door to inform you that the installation is about to occur. In normal circumstances there is no need for you to be present so, if you are not home, the installation will still go ahead.
Once the meter installation is complete, the installer will leave information at your premises to advise you that the meter installation has been completed and will also leave information on how to read your new smart meter.
Will smart meters allow me to feed power from rooftop solar panels into the grid and access feed-in tariffs?
Yes. Smart meters are designed to be compatible with rooftop solar panels. They will be able to regularly measure the power sent to the electricity grid from rooftop solar panels and other forms of small scale renewable generation that may be eligible for a feed in tariff.
If you have had a smart meter installed, and it has not been enabled to measure the power being sent to the grid, you should contact your electricity distribution company (which is the company installing your meter) to determine whether the smart meter installed has bidirectional capabilities activated.
For more information on feed-in tariffs please contact us or visit www.dpi.vic.gov.au/feedintariff
I have already installed a bi-directional/interval meter for my solar panels will I still need a smart meter?
Yes. Other meters (including 'Bi-directional/Interval meters') are not ‘smart meters'.
Interval and smart meters both measure the imports from and exports to the State’s electricity grid on a half-hourly basis. Both are feed-in tariff friendly. However, smart meters have more advanced capabilities: they can be monitored remotely and include additional functionalities that will make it easier to connect and disconnect power when you move house.
Smart meter installation FAQs
What is interval data?
Interval data is the information that is collected by your smart meter that outlines your consumption of electricity at 30 minute intervals. This detailed data does not appear on your bill as it is too much information to fit.
Why would I request interval data?
You might request interval data to find out when you are using the most energy, which would allow you to attempt to cut your energy usage during peak times.
How do I request interval data?
Simply click on this link to complete the request form. Your data will be provided in 10 days.
How long does it take to get data?
Origin will forward the data to you either by email or Australia Post in 10 business days from your request.
How do I read the data?
Your data will be forwarded to you with clear instructions on how to read and interpret.
Where can I get more information on the Victorian Government’s smart meter initiative?
For questions regarding Victorian Government policy on smart meters, please contact the Department of Primary Industries. Visit www.dpi.vic.gov.au/smartmeters.
For questions regarding the smart meter installation, please contact your electricity distribution business, which will vary depending on the area that you live in.
- Powercor is the electricity distributor for western Victoria 1300 783 882
- SP AusNet is the electricity distributor for eastern Victoria 1300 360 795
- Jemena is the electricity distributor for northern metropolitan Melbourne (03) 9937 6766
- United Energy is the electricity distributor for south east metropolitan Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula (03) 9937 6777
- CitiPower is the electricity distributor for the Melbourne CBD and inner city suburbs 1300 783 860
When I receive my interval data what will I receive?
You will receive a PDF with details of your usage. Graphs are available too.