Smart meters spiral
Household budgets suffer hit of up to $1000
ELECTRICITY smart meter fees have sucked up to $1000 from household budgets.
An analysis of approved charges shows householders have already been slugged a total of $536-$792 since 2010, depending on where they live.
By year’s end the accumulated cost will reach $1018 for those in Jemena’s network in the northwestern suburbs.
For AusNet Services’ regions across the eastern sub- urbs and northeast and eastern Victoria it will hit $783. And for United Energy’s southeastern suburbs and Mornington Peninsula zone it will reach $690.
For CitiPower’s CBD and inner suburbs it is $654. For Powercor’s area in the western suburbs, western and northwestern Victoria, it is $647.
On top of charges paid through electricity bills, consumers also pay GST.
Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio did not directly answer why Victoria was the only state to order a digital meter rollout to homes and small businesses.
“Smart meters provide the infrastructure to assist consumers to understand their electricity use and find ways to reduce their costs,” spokeswoman Hayley McNaughton said. “Some of the benefits consumers receive include faster and cheaper remote disconnections and reconnections when moving house, no more estimated bills, and significantly faster and more accurate identification of power outages.”
Jemena’s Rebecca Harrison said its 320,000 customers paid proportionately more than other networks that were able to spread their costs across more people.
“The high fixed costs of the government-mandated program, such as building a communications and billing IT system, are shared among a smaller number of customers,” Ms Harrison said.
“The charge for 2010-2015 does not just represent the costs of the Advanced Metering Infrastructure rollout.
“It also includes a range of operational costs, including manual meter reading up to the time the rollout was completed, and meter accuracy testing,” she said.
The Australian Energy Regulator is responsible for making an annual determination of what distribution companies can fairly recover.
Last year the Herald Sun revealed that the full bill for the Labor-initiated smart meter program could exceed $2.4 billion once inflation and GST has been factored in.