Canberra, Australia --- (METERING.COM) --- January 26, 2011 - The so-called smart meter initial Rule came into effect in Australia on January 1, 2011, under which the electricity distribution businesses are exclusively responsible for meter provision and meter data services for the period of a mandated rollout in a jurisdiction.

Implementing a June 2008 policy decision of the Ministerial Council on Energy (MCE), the smart meter initial Rule supports the National Electricity (South Australia) (Smart Meters) Amendment Act 2009.

At the same time as a result of the response of the MCE to a consultation on the draft act, Australia’s National Electricity Law now provides a head of power for state and territory energy ministers to require distribution businesses to conduct pilots of smart meters or related technology, including direct load control, or to roll out smart meters.

Further, the Act supports the Council of Australian Governments’ (COAG) commitment to a staged national mandated rollout of electricity smart meters to areas where the benefits outweigh the costs.

In its response the MCE notes that the National Stakeholder Steering Committee (NSSC), which is involved in the development of the technical and operational aspects of a national smart metering framework, is expected to finalize major items and wind up by June 2011. Thereafter broader issues identified by the NSSC will be taken up by the MCE as well as by the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) and Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) in order to complete the national framework.

As part of the national framework the MCE is also assessing the regulatory arrangements for cost recovery, customer protection measures and safety standards for smart metering.