Cost queries on new PAYG power meters go unanswered
Summary: MORE than 26,000 Aurora Energy customers could be forced to pay hundreds of dollars for new electricity meters as the state-owned power provider introduces new technology, Government Business Enterprise hearings have heard.....
The current Pay-As-You-Go power meters are nearing the end of their operational life and are set to be replaced with smart meters, which will allow customers to top up their accounts by phone and monitor their energy usage in real time.
The Pay-As-You-Go option is popular with low-income earners as a way to manage their energy bills.
Aurora CEO Rebecca Kardos was unable to estimate the cost for customers of replacing existing meters, but said she was confident it would be less than the current $427 fee.
“We’re developing the business case we’re doing the detailed financials and I haven’t got a specific number on that at the moment,” she said.
“I think it would be incorrect to make the assumption that the current numbers will be the numbers going forward.
“It will really depend on the plan on how we do the implementation and deployment.
“I am pretty confident that we will find some efficiencies in doing that.”
Ms Kardos said the business case for the new units would be made to the board in the new year and one of the considerations was making sure the cost was attractive to customers.
“We haven’t got a final estimate of that but that will be obviously a key consideration in the business case,” she said.
“We want to ensure that the transition is one where customers are embracing the new technology and are eager.
“So any impediment to that is a key consideration in the design and in terms of how we price the product.”
Energy Minister Guy Barnett repeatedly failed to guarantee that the cost of meter installation would be lower for customers than the current rate.
“From the Government’s perspective, let me make it very clear our top priority is convenience, choice and giving control to those customers,” he said.
Labor’s Scott Bacon repeatedly asked Mr Barnett whether customers would have to pay for the new meters.
“All I just I just want to guarantee that people aren’t going to bear these costs a yes or no?” he asked.
Mr Barnett replied: “I’ve made the guarantee in terms of choice, in terms of control and in terms of convenience.”