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Smart meter review and decision

Following an extensive review of the smart meter program that was undertaken in 2011, major changes were made to the program to ensure consumers receive the benefits.

The Victorian Government determined from the review that the best option for Victoria was to continue with an improved rollout which makes delivery of consumer benefits the top priority.

The decision was consistent with advice from the Auditor-General, who stated in his report on smart meters that: "If the project's emerging risks delay the installation of Smart Meters it is likely that consumers will face further cost increases and gain fewer benefits."

The extensive Government review found smart metering technology is sound, and with better program management will provide many benefits to the Victorian community.

Review findings

The review of the smart meter program found that:

  • At the time the review was undertaken, the maximum benefit is delivered by continuing the rollout.
  • Smart meters are safe and fall well within the requirements for electromagnetic and radiofrequency emissions.
  • Consumers can benefit from flexible pricing, including the continuation of flat rates.
  • Greater customer engagement is required to better explain smart meters and their operation.

Main changes arising from the review

  • Introducing the option of flexible pricing.
  • Subsidising in-home displays to help households control their energy bills.
  • Progressively offering remote connections for Victorians moving house, saving customers around $15, or more than $100 after hours.
  • Toughening the regulation of smart meter cost recovery by distribution businesses, including removing the automatic allowance for cost overruns of 10 to 20 per cent put in place under the former Labor government.
  • Providing greater oversight by government and giving consumer and welfare groups a much stronger voice in the smart meter rollout process through a Ministerial Advisory Council.