The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has granted authorisation to the Victorian and New South Wales governments in relation to metering arrangements for domestic and small business electricity customers. Both governments sought authorisation for arrangements that would enable electricity distributors to be exclusively responsible for the provision of metering services for accumulation meters, interval meters suitable for smaller customers, and data services for unmetered electricity supplies.

ACCC Commissioner Ed Willett said the decisions will increase competition in the provision of all remotely read interval meters in Victoria and New South Wales and will ultimately enhance retailers' ability to offer different price and service packages to customers, including peak and off peak tariffs and time of use tariffs. He noted that remotely read interval meters can be used to encourage demand side responses. At the moment, smaller electricity customers generally do not receive price signals to assist them in determining when to use electricity. Interval metering enables users to receive price signals for reduced consumption during peak periods.

The decision encourages innovation in metering and will promote use of remotely read interval meters. It allows retailers to install remotely read interval meters that are suitable for smaller customers, if they consider they can provide these meters more cost effectively than the distribution company. The Victorian Government plans to install manually read interval meters for all customers by 2013.

Copies of the final determinations will be available on the ACCC's website shortly.

www.accc.gov.au