Frequently asked questions
What is net metering?
Under net metering arrangements, the electricity you generate is used to supply your own energy requirements and any excess generation that is not used in the premises is exported to the grid. By reducing the need for grid electricity, customers can reduce their electricity bills as they avoid purchasing electricity from the network. Bill savings will increase as electricity prices increase.
Net meters work by continuously sampling how much electricity is being generated and how much electricity is consumed at your home. At each point in time the meter instantaneously reads the generation and consumption of the premises and the meter records both these amounts. The data is then accumulated in the appropriate register over the billing cycle. The meter is read and the bill is calculated.
What is gross metering?
Under gross metering arrangements, all electricity you generate is exported to the grid. A 'gross' meter measures the total amount of electricity generated by a renewable energy generator.
Gross meters measure by continuously sampling how much electricity is being generated and how much electricity is consumed by the premises. At each point in time the meter registers a cumulative generation and consumption figure. The meter is read and the tariff is paid on the electricity registered in the generation register.
Should I choose a 'gross' meter or a 'net' meter?
It is up to individual customers to decide what metering arrangement will best suit their property, system and budget. You may wish to refer to the Fact Sheet: Small Scale Solar PV Generators.
Customers are encouraged to contact their Network Service Business or accredited service provider to discuss their metering options before making a final decision.
- Endeavour Energy (formerly known as Integral Energy) customer contact number 131 003.
- Ausgrid (formerly known as EnergyAustralia) call centre number 131 535.
- Essential Energy (formerly known as Country Energy) 'energyanswers' number 1800 ENERGY or 1800 363 749.
How will my system’s electricity generation be measured and how does it go to my retailer’s billing system?
Your meter collects a range of data on how much electricity you consume and how much you generate. Strict rules are in place to guide metering practices within the electricity marketplace including measurement requirements. These are set out in the National Electricity Rules.
This data is used for a range of purposes which are mostly unrelated to your feed-in tariff calculations.
The data measured by your meter is provided to:
- your network service business; and
- the market operator (the Australian Energy Market Operator).
The actual generation and consumption data sent to these parties is aggregated in different ways. The network service businesses that calculate your solar bonus payments receive total generation and consumption data. The network service businesses receive your total generation and consumption data which they use to inform your retailer of the amount generated from your solar system so you can receive the appropriate payment associated with this generation.
The Australian Energy Market Operator receives netted data as it only needs to know how much electricity you have consumed from the grid so it can charge your retailer for this consumption. The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) operates using half hourly market settlement, therefore needs the data on a half hourly basis.
Metering arrangements can vary across the network service businesses. However, the meter measures your electricity consumption and generation continuously. This data is then aggregated into half hourly or three monthly readings so that the information can be used for billing purposes.