Melbourne, Australia --- (METERING.COM) --- September 17, 2010 - The Victorian Essential Services Commission has completed a review of its customer protection and energy market regulations to ensure they are appropriate for the operation of smart meters.

Smart meters are being rolled out to all Victorian households and small businesses by 2013. This new technology has required some changes to the regulations which currently protect domestic and small business customers in Victoria. The existing regulations, which are overseen by the Commission, were designed for an energy market where meters are manually read and information about their electricity use is provided to most customers on their quarterly bills.

The Commission in its decision paper found on a number of issues:

  • Assisting vulnerable customers
  • Verifying the accuracy of the bill
  • Estimated and substituted data on bills
  • Graphical information on the bill
  • Unbundling charges and tariffs on the bill
  • Notification of tariff variations
  • Shopping around for a better offer
  • Enabling access to billing and metering data
  • Facilitating prompt connection, disconnection and reconnection
  • Customer protection under disconnection
  • Information to new customers after remote disconnection
  • Frequency of network billing of retailers by distributors.

The Commission decided in its decision to prohibit the use of supply capacity products, which enable momentary disconnection of customers’ premises, for credit management purposes until December 31, 2013, as the implications for customers are not sufficiently clear.

Further the Commission was uncertain as to the extent of regulation required for load control products and whether supply capacity control products should be offered to customers for other than credit management purposes, and has decided to undertake further reviews to address these issues. The Commission also will address some other outstanding matters which require immediate consideration, including a request from the minister for energy and resources that the total accumulated consumption read corresponding to the start of the billing period to be shown on customers’ bills.