Peter Batchelor,
Energy and
Resources Minister
 
21 October 2009 - One of the most significant improvements to electricity distribution infrastructure in Victoria’s history is gaining momentum, with more than 5000 new smart electricity meters installed in the past six weeks.

The 5000 meter milestone comes as international smart meter experts gathered in Melbourne today for a series of meetings culminating in the Zigbee Australia Smart Energy Forum.

Speaking at the forum today, Energy and Resources Minister Peter Batchelor said the program to roll-out 2.5 million smart meters to Victorian households and small businesses over the next four years would help Victorians save energy and money on their electricity bills.

The meters are being installed by Victoria’s five electricity distributors – the businesses responsible for building and maintaining the state’s electricity poles and wires – Jemena, United Energy Distribution ( UED ), SP AusNet, CitiPower and Powercor.

“Since September, Jemena and United Energy Distribution ( UED ) installed around 5000 smart meters in Bulleen and Templestowe, Rosanna, Macleod and Heidelberg Heights,” Batchelor said.

Mr Batchelor said implementing the benefits of smart meters, such as time-of-use pricing, would be a key issue discussed at the forum.

“The global growth in electricity consumption, effective management of peak demand, meeting energy and water efficiency goals, smart grids and the need to substantially reduce carbon emissions, are some of the areas driving these discussions,” he said.

Over the next three months, Jemena and United Energy Distribution ( UED ) plan to continue rolling out around 20,000 new meters, in Yallambie, Viewbank, Macleod, Ivanhoe, Rosanna, Heidelberg, Bulleen, Templestowe and Doncaster.

During the same period, Powercor will install 6000 meters in houses in Caroline Springs, Burnside, Delahey, Sydenham and Taylors Hill and CitiPower will install 4000 meters in Canterbury, Balwyn and Surrey Hills.

SP AusNet will begin its roll-out in January next year.

Mr Batchelor said the new meters provided several key features including:

  • The ability to read meters remotely;
  • The ability to automatically notify distributors if loss of supply is detected, helping to speed up supply restoration;
  • The ability to remotely connect and disconnect electricity supply; and
  • The ability for customers to receive accurate readings on their electricity use at 30 minute intervals, making it easier for customers to monitor energy consumption and cost.

Mr Batchelor said Victoria was the first state in Australia to give the go-ahead for the widespread rollout of smart meters, which was also expected to lead to the creation of new jobs and new businesses.

“About 50 million smart meters are currently being installed in a number of countries and provinces around the world including Italy, Japan, Ontario ( Canada ), California, Texas ( USA ) and New Zealand,” he said.