The AEMC’s 2015 Competition in Metering reforms transferred the responsibility for metering for Small Customers from the Distribution Networks to Retailers. Changes to metering arrangements will be driven by the customer for ‘New Connections’ and ‘Adds and alts’, the retailer for retailer led new deployments and by the Network businesses in the case of meter malfunctions and family failures.
As part of the responsibility assumed by the retailer the new rules require that a contestable Metering Coordinator (MC) is appointed by the retailer to take responsibility for the metering installation at each site.
When metering work is requested the MC is required to ensure an appropriately qualified meter provider (MP) is nominated to perform the work. The MP is required to attend site, isolate supply to the metering installation so that the work can be undertaken safely, install new or replace existing meters.
While this appears to be a simple enough process, there are a number of real issues related to the ability to isolate supply that impacts the ability for the MP to perform the metering work. Where isolation of a metering installation cannot be achieved at the time of the scheduled visit the metering work must be deferred and rescheduled to a later date, with the following consequences:
- Customer frustration and inconvenience as scheduled work cannot be completed and must be rescheduled.
- Inefficient delivery of meter deployments as MP’s are required to visit sites on multiple occasions.
- A more complex, costly and lengthy process, driven by:
- Need for coordinated visits with other parties (DB’s etc)
- Compliance with the current rules related to interruption notice periods to affected customers
- Long lead times and high cost to engage DB to perform temporary isolation
- Higher overall costs which will are ultimately borne by the customer.
Competitive Metering Industry Group Discussion Paper on Isolation Issues can be downloaded at the link below.