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What is a Smart Meter?

A Smart Meter is the name given to an Advanced Single Phase (or Three Phase) electronic revenue meter. A Smart meter allows for four-quadrant measurement, remote reading, optional integrated main and load disconnect relays, remote monitoring and communication capabilities for use in power quality indication.

With the roll out of smart meters in NSW there is a lot of confusion in regards to how Smart meters work and more importantly, how they impact on solar customer coming off a solar feed-in tariff.

We have compiled a list of the most common Smart metering questions.

Q: Does the smart meter allow both gross and net solar feed-in?

No. A smart meter only has the facility to allow either net or gross solar feed. You cannot have both feeds. This is applicable to those people who have two solar systems installed. One system connected as a Gross feed and one system connected as a net feed – with one dual meter installed.

Q: If I have both a net and a gross solar system installed, what will happen if I swap over to a smart meter?

If you have both a net and gross feed solar system installed then you will have a ‘Dual Meter’ installed. If you switch to a Smart meter, the Dual meter will be removed and both the gross and the net feed solar systems will combine as one single solar system fed into the Smart meter. You can choose to have this as a Net or Gross feed. See below for changes to your tariff if you select the Gross feed option.

Q: I am on the NSW Solar Bonus Scheme and get 60c per kWh for all my solar energy. What will happen if I swap over to a Smart meter before the 31st December 2016.

The Smart meter will allow you to keep the Gross feed up until the 31st December 2016. Automatically, the Smart meter will switch you from Gross Feed to Net Feed on the 1st of January 2017.

Q: If I have a Gross feed solar system earning me 60c per kWh and a separate net feed solar system, what will happen if I swap over to a Smart meter before the 31st December 2016.

Both solar systems will combine as one net or gross feed solar system. If you are on the 60c feed-in tariff, and you combine both systems to the Gross feed on the Smart meter then your 60c feed-in tariff will drop to a 20c feed in tariff (as long as both solar systems do not exceed 10kW’s in size). If you connect both systems as a net feed on the Smart meter then you will earn 20c per kWh for all excess (wasted) solar energy. This is solar energy that you have not consumed in your home.

Q: If I swap to a Smart meter, will this meter still be read every 3 months?

No. The smart meter will be read remotely. The smart meter will transmit energy usage data back to the metring provider every 24 hours.

Q: Is a smart meter available throughout NSW?

Yes, in remote areas, the meter may require some additional hardware to be able to transmit a signal back to the metering provider.

Q: Who owns the Smart meter?

The meter installer (or meter provider) owns the Smart meter. This is a 3rd party contracted by the energy retailer to supply, manage and collect readings from the Smart meter.

Q: Can I swap energy providers if I elect to have an energy retailer supply a Smart meter for FREE?

Yes. In this situation, the 3rd party meter provider/installer will then form an agreement with the new energy retailer for the maintenance and data recording associated with the Smart meter.

Q: Am I locked into a certain tariff structure with a Smart meter?

No. A smart meter allows for multiple billing structures. You can choose Time of Use billing or single tariff billing or remain on the same type of billing structure you were on prior to the Smart meter swap over.




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