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Smart Meters eUpdate - Issue 6

27 September 2013

New flexible pricing options

The Minister for Energy and Resources Nicholas Kotsiras recently announced the availability of new flexible pricing options for electricity that will give Victorian consumers more choice. He also launched a new independent online tool to help households choose pricing plans that can save them money.
 
The introduction of flexible pricing has been made possible by the rollout of smart meters. Consumers who take up flexible pricing will pay different rates depending on when they are using power. Retailers have a range of flexible pricing offers with various rates at peak, off-peak and shoulder times. However, flexible pricing is voluntary and no one will be switched to flexible pricing without their consent.
 
Flexible pricing could reduce the power bill of many consumers and in particular those who can use electricity outside peak periods. While flexible pricing will not be for everybody, studies have shown that for many people flexible pricing plans will offer new choices that could help them reduce their power bills.
 
Strong consumer protections will also cover the new flexible pricing arrangements that are offered by electricity retailers. There will also be a ‘safe try’ period up until March 2015 during which households will be able to move to a new flexible price offer with their current retailer with the confidence that they can switch back to their previous offer without penalty if they are uncomfortable with the change.

For more information about flexible pricing, please visit the Switch On website.

My Power Planner

With the introduction of flexible pricing, a new independent online tool is now available on the Switch On website to help households choose pricing plans that can save money.
 
My Power Planner is an interactive tool that lets consumers work out if flexible pricing makes sense for them and to compare the offers put forward by different retailers.
 
The tool allows electricity customers to either upload their own smart meter data or build an ‘energy profile’ that will allow them to compare pricing offers and choose the offer that suits their own energy use. My Power Planner will be kept up to date with retailers’ latest offers, providing Victorians with an independent resource to find the energy offer best suited to their budget, lifestyle and needs.

My Power Planner will also help users understand the potential benefits of shifting the usage of high-electricity use appliances to off-peak periods through a flexible pricing offer.

To use the My Power Planner tool to compare retailers’ offers and for more information about flexible pricing, please visit the Switch On website.

Energy Information Fund is now open for applications

To make sure all Victorians receive the facts about flexible pricing, the Victorian Government has established the Energy Information Fund (EIF) to support community groups in distributing information to people who might not be reached otherwise. The creation of the EIF coincides with major changes in the Victorian electricity market in order to provide assistance to hard-to reach consumers in a timely and relevant fashion.

The objective of the EIF is to educate and empower groups that may not be reached by mainstream information campaigns in order to enable them to make informed decisions about electricity.

The EIF aims to build capacity within the not-for-profit community to deliver information and education about flexible pricing, Smart Meters and the electricity market in general.

The EIF will also work with the Consumer Utilities Advocacy Centre to promote collaboration and share information resources across the not-for-profit sector.

The first funding round opened on 17 September 2013. Applications close at 5.00pm on 25 October 2013.
The Fund Guidelines, Terms of Participation and Application Forms are available on the Switch On website.

Mark Travill - Community Liaison Manager

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

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@dsdbi.vic.gov.au