FAQs

Power of Choice Customer Electrical Contactor/Builder Frequently Asked Questions

1.1 What does PoC mean for me?

PoC reforms are a new set of rules being brought in by the National Electricity Regulator. These rules make the installation of Type 4 smart (digital) meters mandatory when a new or replacement meter is requested from 1 December 2017. Victoria has been excluded from the PoC reform at this stage.

1.2 What is a Type 4 meter/smart meter?

Retailers are using the term ‘Type 4 smart (digital) meter’ to describe a meter that  supports National Minimum Service Specifications, which includes recording energy usage in 30 minute intervals, a digital display and a communications device which allows for remote meter reads using different remote communication networks . These are also known as Type 4 smart meters with communications.

1.3 Who will I have to contact about meter installations, replacements and upgrades?

From 1 December 2017, you will deal solely with your retailer for all requests in relation to the installation, update or maintenance of metering services.

If a meter was requested prior to 1 December 2017 and the DNSP has agreed to provide it, this meter will still be installed by the DNSP or their agent. If the DNSP cannot complete the works before 31 March 2018 then you will have to contact a retailer to arrange a meter.

In NSW if any service works are required as a part of the connection or upgrade, this must be completed by a suitability authorised Accredited Service Provider (ASP).

1.4 Can a builder/installer opt out of a new Type 4 smart meter?

From 1 December 2017 onwards customers cannot refuse to have a Type 4 smart meter however they can refuse remote communications installed with the meter. In which case, the new smart meter will still be installed, but the communications capability is not installed. This meter is known as Type 4A; these meters do not offer the full suite of the smart meter customer benefits and hence are not recommended.

1.5 What will be the cost of new meter?

You are required to contact your retailer for more information on the total cost of the meter solution.

1.6 Are smart meters a health concern?

No, the RF EMR emissions from smart meters are regulated by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). ACMA’s regulatory arrangements require wireless devices, including smart meters to comply with the exposure limits in the ARPANSA RF standard.

1.7 Do you have to replace the existing meter with a smart meter (Type 4)?

No, if you are contacted by retailers regarding a smart meter upgrade you may choose to remain on your existing meter – providing this is functioning accurately and safely.

Note – from 1 December 2017, if your existing meter is found to be faulty or has reached its end of life, you must install a smart meter.

1.8 Will there be a power outage for smart meter installation?

Yes, there may be an outage required to upgrade the meter. An outage is needed to ensure that meter technicians are able to complete the work in a safe environment. For straightforward meter changes the installation generally takes between 30 and 60 minutes, which means you may be off supply for 30 to 60 minutes.

1.9 I’m building a new home, what should I do?

From 1 December 2017, all meters installed in new properties will need to be a smart meter. Ask your retailer to organise this installation for you.

1.10 What is a smart meter and its benefits?

A smart meter is an electricity meter with added functionality. Unlike the traditional meters many people have, which only record the total amount of electricity used between readings every few months, smart meters digitally record data about energy consumption every 30 minutes. A smart meter can:

  • Send data remotely to the meter provider daily rather than manually collected every quarter.
  • Show what hours or days you use more energy—helping you to identify ways to save on energy bills by making more informed decisions on how you use electricity. It makes it easier to identify the source of high energy use and help change your energy usage pattern.

1.11 Should the property have active power supply for type 4 meter installation?

Yes, the meter technician will require power supply at the metering point to install, test and commission the smart meter. If there is no power supply at the time of meter installation, the technician may not be able to commission the meter.

1.12 Will the meter technician require access to meter isolation point, main switch/es and meter panel?

Yes, to perform meter install on site meter technician will require access to meter isolation point, meter panel and main switch/es.

1.13 Does a meter technician or retailer need to know if there are site specific requirements?

Yes, a meter technician or retailer need to know in advance if there are any site specific requirements such as:

  1. Site induction
  2. Meter panel access issues
  3. Any site-specific safety requirements or known hazards

1.14 What if there is no communication coverage at the site?

Smart metering solution supports a variety of communication mediums and have multiple ways of mitigating poor signal coverage site (i.e. high gain antenna etc.) to boost the signal. However, if there is still no communication coverage then manually read Type 4A meter might be required at site.

1.15 What is the high level process for new connections?

High Level Connection Process is as below, depending on jurisdiction:

NSW

Endeavour Energy: You must contact your retailer of choice who will request for a National Metering Identifier (NMI). When the NMI is provided you must apply for connection to the network – a Permission to Connect (PTC) letter will be issued if your application is approved. The next step is for  an appropriate Accredited Service Provider (ASP) and Metering Provider to install the service and meter respectively. Retailers can co-ordinate the whole end to end process for you or let you know which part of the process you must complete, therefore when contacting your retailer for the NMI ask them what is the process they want you to follow.

Plus ES: You must submit a Connection Application form to Plus ES to seek approval for the new connection. Once a valid application has been processed you will be issued a NMI. You must then enter an electricity retail contract with your retailer of choice and provide then your NMI which we issued to you. The retailer will then notify us that they have been selected as the retailer for the NMI. Once we receive this notification we will issue you a Permission to Connect (PTC) and your selected service providers can conduct the appropriate works to connect your installation.

Essential Energy: You must contact your retailer of choice who will request for a National Metering Identifier (NMI). When the NMI is provided you must apply for connection to the network – a Letter of Offer will be issued if your application is approved. The next step is for  an appropriate Accredited Service Provider (ASP) and Metering Provider to install the service and meter respectively. Retailers can co-ordinate the whole end to end process for you or let you know which part of the process you must complete, therefore when contacting your retailer for the NMI ask them what is the process they want you to follow.

QLD: In QLD, the current process of submitting EWR via DNSP portal continues. A copy of EWR is digitally sent to the Retailer to raise both Supply Service Works (SSW) and Metering Service Works (MSW) to install meter, the MSW will be actioned once the SSW is completed

ACT: In ACT, the current process of submitting EWR via DNSP portal continues. A copy of the EWR is digitally sent to the Retailer that the supply work is completed, they will then raise the MSW. Customer Electrical Contractor must ensure that Request for Service (RFS) is submitted to ActewAGL.  If the electrical contractor has not completed the Electrical Safety Rules and Electrical Service and Installation Rules training with Evoenergy (previously known as ActewAGL Distribution) then they will not be authorised to energise the site. In this scenario the retailer will be required to raise a service order to arrange energisation.

SA: In SA, current process of submitting request for a new service provision via DNSP portal continues. The supply work is managed directly by the DNSP via REC and customer. Once the Retailer receives the notification from the DNSP that the site is energised, the Retailer will raise the MSW to Install Meter. You will need to provide the Retailer with the REX  Reference number.

1.16 What is the high level process for moving a meter? When to use Move Meter Process: Relocating to new meter box; Installing Meter Protection Device

High Level Move Meter Process is as below depending on jurisdiction:

NSW: In NSW, if the Retailer receives customer request to move a meter the retailer will raise a Metering Service Works Move Meter to their Metering Coordinator. The customer’s registered Electrical contractor or builder is required to submit a Connection Application prior to commencing the works if in Ausgrid’s area and a Permission to Connect (PTC) form in Essential’s area. Any association service works or isolation of service mains, must be conducted by a suitably authorised ASP.

QLD/ACT: Once retailer receives customer request to move meter, retailer raises supply service works and metering service works. In QLD, REC need to submit EWR to Energex and Ergon. In ACT, REC need to submit request for service (RFS) form.

SA: In SA, the REC needs to submit a request to SAPN and should also contact the Retailer to discuss and agree the required metering. No service order is required to be sent to SAPN by the Retailer.

1.17 What is the high level process for Remove Meter (Supply Abolishment)?

High Level Removing Meter Process is as below, depending on jurisdiction:

NSW: In NSW, if the Retailer receives customer request to permanently remove a meter the retailer will arrange for an appropriately authorised ASP to conduct any associated service works and remove any Network metering and raise a Metering Service Works to Metering Coordinator if a Type 4 meter is installed onsite.

QLD, SA & ACT: The retailer receives customer request to remove meter, retailer raises supply service works request to network. Once network completes supply works, retailer raises Meter Service Work Remove Meter to Metering Coordinator.

1.18 What is the high level process for Install Load Control?

High Level Install Load Control is as below depending on jurisdiction:

NSW, QLD, SA & ACT: The Retailer receives customer request to Install Load Control and raises Metering Service Works to Metering Coordinator as required.

Paperwork Required from Customers Electrical Contractor Prior to Raising Install Load Control Request:

  • QLD Electrical Work Request (EWR)
  • ACT: Request for Service (RFS)

1.19 Are there any changes to the requirements for meter enclosures and meter wiring?

No, the metering industry is working closely with DNSP’s and state regulators to ensure installation wiring rules are not changed without consultation with the electrical industry.  Smart meters will create opportunities to update metering installation wiring rules but this will happen gradually over time.

1.20 Will the meter technician turn on Main Switches after Metering Service Work is complete?

The metering technician will leave the position of Main Switch/es as it was upon arrival at the site. It is the responsibility of Customer Electrical Contractor to ensure that the customer Main Switch/es are turned ON after metering works are completed. For example, if upon arrival at site Metering Technician find that Off Peak Controlled Load Main Switch is in Off position then the technician will leave it off after metering works are completed.