Power industry says it can cut wait for smart meters
Summary: The electricity industry believes it can reduce the wait for “smart meter” installations to under three weeks, less than a month after a bungled federal government program caused delays of up to 16 weeks for new homes.....
Master Electricians Australia chief executive Malcolm King said a meeting in Adelaide yesterday that included representatives from the Australian Energy Market Commission, which sets the national energy market rules, had focused on operational solutions.
As reported by The Australian yesterday, a problem in the “power of choice” program has left tens of thousands of families, builders and subcontractors frustrated, financially stressed and in some cases homeless. Most of those affected are in South Australia, Queensland and Tasmania.
Mr King said after yesterday’s meeting, he was confident that within a month “we will get the installation timeframe down to quite a reasonable two to three weeks”.
There has been a significant blowout in waiting times for new and replacement meters since December, when responsibility was moved from electricity distribution companies to retailers.
South Australia’s Energy Ombudsman Sandro Canale said there had been a 70 per cent rise in complaints since January. Mr King said the industry could only do so much under existing rules.
On March 1, federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg submitted a rule-change request to the AEMC to ensure meters were installed within six business days, as was previously the case. A draft determination is yet to be published.
South Australia and Queensland have had the longest waiting times because of federal and state laws that require as many as four different crews to make multiple visits to one property to connect a meter.