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Smart Meters eUpdate - Issue 4

27th September 2012

Introducing flexible pricing – greater choice to help you take control of your power bill

More Victorian electricity customers will be offered a choice between flat tariffs and new flexible pricing from the middle of 2013.

Flexible pricing means different rates for electricity at different times of the day. This will give you more control to manage your power bill.

Flexible pricing has the potential to save you money but will not be right for everyone – especially those who have high usage at peak times.

A recent study found that a majority of Victorians would be better off with flexible pricing. You should carefully consider whether you will save money by switching to flexible pricing before switching.

Moving to flexible pricing is entirely optional: households and small businesses can select a flexible pricing plan or continue on a flat tariff, depending upon what best suits their energy use patterns and individual circumstances.

You will need a Smart Meter to access flexible pricing from your participating energy retailer.

Households that switch to flexible pricing can switch back to their previous rate structure with the same retailer without incurring an administration fee until 31 March 2015.

Flexible pricing is designed to encourage people to use power when there is less demand for electricity, reducing the need for expensive energy infrastructure upgrades – a future cost that would be passed onto all consumers.

For more information see flexible pricing on the Switch On website

Web portals switched on

Origin, Australia’s largest energy retailer has launched a tool to help unlock the benefits of smart meters – ‘Origin Smart’.

‘Origin Smart’ is a free web portal that allows Origin’s customers to see how much power they are using daily, an Australian first. Victorians will be the first to experience the full benefits of this innovation.

The tool will give customers who have a smart meter the power to manage their energy use. It provides projected costs based on current usage and allows customers to set energy saving goals and monitor their progress. The price of energy and customer usage data is fully accessible within 24 hours, ensuring increased transparency.

For more information about ‘Origin Smart’ and to see if it’s available in your home, visit: www.originsmart.com.au

Some Victorian distributors also have web portals available or on trial for their customers.

As mentioned in a previous eUpdate, Jemena customers have access to 'Electricity Outlook', an online portal that displays a customer's electricity data.

It includes features such as a home energy assessment tool, which enables households and small businesses to monitor their electricity consumption. For more information on the Electricity Outlook visit: www.electricityoutlook.jemena.com.au or contact Jemena on 1300 131 871. (Jemena's distribution area covers north-western Melbourne.)

United Energy is currently trialling a new web portal called Energy Easy. Energy Easy can be accessed via a computer, smart phone or tablet by customers within United Energy's region who have a Smart Meter installed.

Energy Easy allows United Energy customers to track their daily, weekly and seasonal electricity usage − helping customers understand their electricity consumption patterns, set consumption targets and access electricity saving tips.

To learn more or to register for the Energy Easy trial, follow the link on the United Energy website: www.uemg.com.au. (United Energy's distribution area covers east and south east Melbourne, and the Mornington Peninsula.)

Please contact your distributor for more information on what is available.

Managing energy bills

The Victorian Government and the Essential Services Commission (ESC) have developed resources such as Switch On and Your Choice to assist you to better manage your energy bills.

Accessing and using the information on these websites in conjunction with devices such as web portals will help to give you greater control over your energy consumption and costs.

Your Choice is a Victorian State Government initiative designed to make it easier for all Victorians to make the best energy choice for their home or small business.

The Your Choice electricity and gas comparator is independent and can be used by customers to search for the most affordable offer to suit their needs made by every retailer servicing their area. For more information see www.yourchoice.vic.gov.au

Another DPI initiative that has recently been designed to help Victorians take more control of their power bills is Switch On. This website is an independent resource with many easy to use tips and tools to provide Victorians with information about changes and improvements to Victoria’s energy system.

Switch On has been developed to assist you to make informed decisions about your current energy usage and to adopt simple behaviours that will help them save money on their energy bills, such as:

  • taking advantage of energy saving incentives available on a range of products
  • comparing your energy use to similar households
  • identifying the appliances that contribute most to your bills.

For more information see www.switchon.vic.gov.au

Smart meter fact sheets

Fact sheets on Smart Meters are available in a range of languages including: Arabic, Greek, Italian, Macedonian, Mandarin, Spanish, Turkish and Vietnamese.

For more information please see Smart meter fact sheets in other languages