Melbourne, Victoria --- (METERING.COM) --- January 15, 2010 - Starting this month customers of Victoria’s electricity retailers will start paying for smart meters, whether or not they have their smart meter.

In a review of Victoria’s advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) rollout last October, the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) approved the budgets and metering charges for 2010 and 2011 for the state’s five distributors that are installing the smart meters, Citipower (Melbourne CBD and inner city suburbs), Powercor (western Victoria), SP Ausnet (eastern Victoria), Jemena (northern metropolitan Melbourne) and United Energy (south east metropolitan Melbourne and Mornington Peninsula).

For 2010 the charges range from Au$69.21 to Au$134.63 (Au$1=US$0.93) for a customer receiving a single phase, single element meter, up to Au$83.27 to Au$183.95 for a three phase current transformer (CT) connected meter.

This represents an average increase across all distributors of Au$67.97 in 2010 from 2009 charges for a customer whose meter is read quarterly.

For 2011 the charges, which are subject to revision, range from Au$89.18 to Au$136.70 for a single phase, single element meter, up to Au$107.28 to Au$188.29 for a three phase CT connected meter – a further average increase of Au$8.42 over the 2010 charges.

All households and businesses consuming less than 160 MWh per annum in Victoria are set to have a smart meter installed by the end of 2013.

The AER says that as the AMI rollout progresses, it will review the level of, and trends in, the distributors’ actual metering operational expenditure, which should reflect the anticipated cost savings from the AMI rollout. The AER will be mindful of these expected operational cost savings and other positive impacts on network service delivery in the future, and will aim to ensure that these benefits are reflected in future electricity tariffs.