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Smart Meters eUpdate - Issue 5

22 July 2013

New Switch On campaign

A new Switch On community education campaign was launched on 15 July to alert consumers to the introduction of flexible pricing and ensure that they receive independent easy to understand information.

The six-week television, radio, press and online advertising campaign by the Victorian Government  will direct consumers to the Switch On website for more information.

The campaign aims to empower consumers to make informed decisions once flexible pricing is available in mid-September.

The Switch On website is a a great source of independent information including easy to follow tips on how to make your home more energy efficient, and how to better manage your energy bills.

By visiting the Switch On website you can learn all about flexible electricity pricing as well as find support to:

  • understand how your energy use compares to similar households
  • understand which appliances contribute most to bills
  • take advantage of energy efficiency subsidies for your home or workplace through the Victorian Government’s Energy Saver Incentive, for example with In-Home Displays
  • learn more about the energy sector to better understand price rises.

Helpful tools on the Switch On website include the:

  • Flexible Pricing Profiler
  • Energy calculator
  • Appliance calculator

Introducing flexible pricing

From mid-September, more electricity customers will be offered a choice between flat rates and new flexible electricity pricing.

There are peak/off peak or time of use plans that have been made available for some years, and will continue to be offered by energy retailers.

How does it work?

On a flexible pricing plan, different rates for electricity apply throughout the day.

With flexible pricing, rates will be lower during off-peak, higher during peak and in-between for shoulder periods.

You can pay less for your electricity by using power outside of the peak hours if you choose a flexible pricing plan.

You cannot be changed from a flat price to flexible pricing without providing your written or verbal consent to your electricity retailer.

Once flexible pricing becomes available in mid-September you can contact an electricity retailer to find out what flexible pricing plans they have available.

To access flexible pricing you will need a remotely-read Smart Meter. To find out if your meter is ready, contact your electricity retailer.

Why is flexible pricing being introduced?

Flexible pricing will provide you with more choice and control over your power bill. It provides incentive to use power outside of peak times, reducing the need for expensive energy infrastructure upgrade costs to be passed on to all consumers.

Will flexible pricing save me money?

Studies commissioned by the Victorian Government show that many people could benefit from flexible pricing without changing their usage patterns.

You should carefully consider if flexible pricing will work for you before switching.

To see the effect of flexible pricing on a typical Victorian household, try the easy to use Flexible Pricing Profiler tool at SwitchOn.

DSDBI launches a new Fund to increase consumer understanding

The Department of State Development, Business and Innovation (DSDBI) is currently establishing the Energy Information Fund (EIF) as part of the Advanced Metering Infrastructure program.

The purpose of the EIF is to provide information to multicultural, disadvantaged, vulnerable and hard to reach electricity consumers across Victoria that enables them to make informed decisions about the electricity options available in a changing energy environment.

The EIF will provide funding to not-for profit organisations to adapt, develop and deliver information about the electricity market and flexible pricing to multicultural, vulnerable and hard to reach consumers across Victoria.

The first funding round is expected to commence in the latter part of 2013 and more information regarding the application process will be available around August.

Please check the Switch On site in August or register your interest by emailing switch.on@dpi.vic.gov.au

Discounted energy saving products

Businesses and households can save money on their energy bills through the Energy Saver Incentive scheme.

From water heating to refrigerated display cabinets, you may be able to reduce your energy costs by either purchasing new or replacement appliances.

To discover which products are eligible for discounts under the scheme and to find participating businesses in your area visit SwitchOn.

Mark Travill - Community Liaison Manager

Are you a community group looking for someone to come and talk to you about Smart Meters and energy efficiency?

We can now accommodate community requests for meetings and presentations on energy bills and Smart Meters.

Our Community Liaison Manager, Mark Travill, is available to meet with stakeholders and community members, to better inform interested groups about our complex energy sector.

To request a meeting or presentation from Mark Travill, please contact us via smartmeters@dpi.vic.gov.au