Recently, in our street in suburban Melbourne, we have had “smart” meters installed. The program of smart meter installation has been legislated by the Victorian Government – you don’t have a choice about whether you get one or not; it will come to you. Last week I received a letter from my retailer, Origin, flagging “Time-of-Use” (ToU) energy prices. For the vast majority of us, this will result in major increases in bills.
My “peak” rate went from 28.424 to 39.149 cents per kilowatt-hour. The “off-peak” rate was flagged as 14.674 c/kWh BUT this operates from 11pm – 7am! (Granted that they also include the weekend in the “off-peak” times, I still don’t believe you will make up the difference.)
As a result, you will probably pay more; LOTS more. Don’t be fooled by the low off-peak rate; unless you use a LOT of energy between 11pm and 7am, you won’t see much benefit. The “peak” times are the times when most of us use power. That’s why they have them classified as “peak”.
The state government has mandated that you can request that you be taken off ToU prices and move back to your old “flat rate” pricing. This has not received much publicity and is certainly not mentioned in the letter I received from my retailer.
At Origin you need to call 13 24 61 and ask for the “Customer Resolutions Department”. Other retailers have the same mandate upon them but the name of the department may differ.
We have been paying a premium for many years now in order to have 100% GreenPower …and will continue to do so. This is a worthy addition to try to mitigate the GHG emissions created by the production of the electricity that drives our modern lifestyle.
Smart meters have a role to play in reducing GHG emissions but more through the education role they are able to provide – not from price gouging.