Electricity metering

Accumulation metering is the old standard electricity metering system in Queensland. These meters record electricity usage as a running total, like a car odometer.

Under the Electricity Act 1994 and the Electricity Regulation 2006, all new and replacement electricity meters installed in homes after 1 December 2017 will be digital meters. These are now the standard electricity metering system.

About digital meters

Advanced digital meters (also known as digital meters, ADM, advanced meter, smart meters, or type 4 meters) are electricity meters which can record electricity consumption typically in 5 or 30 minute intervals. They use energy industry wireless communications for remote reading of electricity consumption and other services.

Digital meters record and store electricity use data only. The data is transmitted to the retailer’s systems via a secure encrypted link to prevent unauthorised access and maintain data security. The digital meters do not store personal customer data and are not connected to the internet.

Digital meters are used extensively throughout the world and have been used in Australia for more than 20 years by some business electricity customers.

Advantages of digital meters

Digital meters can help you:

  • better understand your electricity consumption patterns via interval data
  • take advantage of a wider range of new electricity products and services
  • better manage your usage.

Because digital meters record your electricity consumption in shorter time periods it allows you to see how much electricity you consume at different times of the day.

This can assist you in making more informed decisions about products and services, including:

  • the optimal tariff you should be on, such as a time-of use tariff or a demand tariff
  • investments in energy efficient appliances, solar power, battery energy storage.

Digital meters enable:

  • accurate and up-to-date information on usage patterns through electricity retailer online platforms and mobile apps
  • smaller, more frequent bills based on actual consumption
  • faster switching between electricity retailers
  • faster services (e.g. when you make billing enquiries or transfer your accounts when moving premise)
  • faster network fault detection and restoration of supply.

Transition to digital meters

A transition is underway to make digital meters the standard meter used for all electricity customers.

Changes to electricity metering came into effect throughout the National Electricity Market on 1 December 2017. This includes Queensland but excludes the off-grid areas in regional Queensland (i.e. the Mt. Isa–Cloncurry network, Weipa and Ergon Energy’s remote communities).

Electricity retailers are now responsible for electricity metering, including arranging the safe installation of the meter, reading of electricity consumption, and its operation and maintenance.

Existing accumulation meters can remain in use at your premises until:

  • you accept an offer from an electricity retailer to install a digital meter
  • you choose an electricity product which requires a digital meter
  • the meter needs replacement (e.g. due to fault or age).

Your electricity retailer will be able to provide you with more information.

Digital meter requirements have recently been updated requiring that all new and replacement digital meters are capable of recording electricity use in 5-minute instead of 30-minute intervals. This requirement was introduced to support the transition to "5 minute settlement" in the National Electricity Market. More information on this program can be found on Australian Energy Market Operator's website.

Your opt-out choices for digital meters

Digital meters will provide a range of benefits to electricity customers. However, if you do not wish to receive a new digital meter, there are a number of opt-out choices available.

You may refuse an offer from an electricity retailer to replace a working accumulation meter with a digital meter. To refuse an offer, you should follow the instructions detailed in the offer from your electricity retailer. Make sure you send your refusal to your electricity retailer before the last opt-out date specified in the notice. Check your electricity contract to ensure you have not already waived your right to opt-out.

There are certain situations where a new meter is required and you cannot refuse the installation of a digital meter. These may include new connections or replacements due to:

  • age
  • fault
  • your choice of a tariff that requires more detailed information than your existing meter can provide.

Under the Electricity Act 1994 and the Electricity Regulation 2006, all new and replacement electricity meters installed in homes will be digital meters.

However, you may elect to have the remote communications disabled. Meters without remote communications are called type 4A. This means the digital meter will operate in much same way as the meter it replaced and electricity consumption data must be collected manually by a meter reader. You may be charged for manual reading of your meter – check with your electricity retailer if this will apply to you.