Smart meter installation
The rollout of smart meters in Victoria is effectively complete with more than 2.75 million meters now installed at homes and businesses across the state. Smart meters are now the standard meters in Victoria.
Safe installation of smart meters
Victoria’s electricity distributors will continue to install smart meters in homes and businesses across Melbourne and throughout the state. A review of smart meter installation found that Victorians can be confident that meters are being installed safely.
As the state’s independent safety regulator responsible for ensuring the safe supply and use of electricity, Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) is required to assess and approve electricity distributors’ safety procedures. This includes the installation of smart meters.
Here is what will happen when your smart meter is installed.
Step 1: Your electricity distributor will contact you and let you know prior to the installation of a smart meter. The general notification process involves a letter being sent to residents in an area outlining the distributor’s intent to install meters. A second letter is provided about ten days prior outlining that a qualified meter installer will come to replace your old meter with your new smart meter. You won’t need to be home unless you need to be there to provide access.
Step 2: The installer must produce photo identification (ID) on request. You will not be required to pay anything to the installer.
Step 3. The power will need to be switched off for 30-60 minutes while the smart meter is installed.
Step 4: The installer will leave you with instructions on how to read your new smart meter and who to contact if you have any problems. If you do not receive this information, you should ask the installer or contact your distribution business.
If your meter is not freely accessible or the scheduled ten-day installation period is not convenient, you will need to contact your electricity distributor to arrange an alternative installation time.
There are five electricity distributors in Victoria: CitiPower, Jemena, Powercor, SP AusNet and United Energy. Each distributor covers different geographical areas and has its own installation schedule.
To find out who your distributor is, visit the Energy and Earth Resources website.
Safe installation requirements
Distributors are installing smart meters in line with Energy Safe Victoria (ESV)-approved electrical safety management schemes.
The installer will test your smart meter in accordance with the requirements outlined in the Victorian Electricity Supply Industry’s ‘Installation Supply Connection Tests & Procedures’ manual. The test ensures that the smart meter is working properly before turning your electricity back on. More information can be found at www.esv.vic.gov.au.
Safety advice cards and instructions on how to use the meter
The installer will give you a safety advice card after the meter has been installed. Issuing safety advice cards was introduced by distributors in mid-2011.
The installer will also leave you with instructions on how to read your new Smart Meter, and details about who to contact if you have any problems.
If this information is not provided to you, contact your distributor to receive a copy.
Clear meter access
Customers are required to provide unrestricted access to their meter. This is part of the Electricity Customer Metering Code and the Energy Retail Code. Both codes can be found on the Essential Services Commission website: www.esc.vic.gov.au.
If you believe that the installer cannot gain unrestricted access to your meter (for example, it is behind a locked gate or you have a dog), please contact your electricity distributor.
Safe wiring and defect notices
As part of the process to install smart meters, installers conduct a safety check of the meter connection to your property. A defect notice may be issued if a pre-existing wiring safety issue is identified before or during the smart meter installation. If you receive a defect notice, you will need to organise a registered electrical contractor to repair the fault and issue a Certificate of Electrical Safety.
If the fault does not pose a threat, your electricity supply will resume as normal following installation of the new meter. In rare circumstances, if the fault poses a serious threat to lives or property, your electricity may be disconnected and will not be reconnected until the defect has been repaired.
Problems with the meter or electricity
All problems with, or changes to, old or new meters should be reported to your distributor.
If the matter cannot be resolved to your satisfaction, you can contact the Energy and Water Ombudsman (Victoria) for assistance. The Ombudsman can be contacted via www.ewov.com.au or by calling 1800 500 509.
Tenant and property owner responsibilities
If you are a tenant, it is your responsibility to immediately notify your real estate agent or landlord about any electrical safety issues identified during the smart meter installation.
If you are a property owner and/or a landlord, it is your responsibility to have any electrical faults or unsafe wiring repaired as quickly as possible.
Customers on life support or with electricity-reliant medical needs
All customers on life support or with medical needs that rely on a constant electricity supply should complete and lodge the necessary forms with their electricity retailer to inform them of their status. Your retailer will inform the electricity distribution business installing your smart meter. If you are unsure, please contact your electricity retailer as soon as possible.
Smart meter installation is mandatory
The Victorian Government has mandated that all residential and small business electricity customers in Melbourne and throughout the state must have a smart meter installed to ensure that the most benefits can be realised with the least cost to the community. New regulations announced in December 2014 require electricity distributors to continue to install smart meters after the end of 2013.