What are digital meters?

Digital meters, also known as smart or advanced meters, are electricity meters that are capable of two-way communication to support a range of additional services including in home monitoring of electricity use.

Services enabled by digital meters include:

  • Seeing your energy consumption in real time
  • “Time of use” pricing to take advantage of times with cheaper prices
  • Easy access to detailed data
  • Easy comparison of retailer offers enabling faster switching
  • Ability for electricity retailers to remotely read your meter
  • Quicker detection and resolution of electricity supply outages.

More information on advanced metering benefits for consumers is available on the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) website.

More information on the different types of meters can be found on the AEMC website.

How do I get a digital meter?

Contact your retailer. Retailers are responsible for customer metering and will organise the installation of your new digital meter.

You can shop around retailers for a metering package that best suits your needs. In many cases, retailers may offer a combined meter and tariff package. Visit energymadeeasy.gov.au for more information on retailer offers.

Do I have to change my meter?

Your retailer may wish to change your meter for a variety of reasons. If the retailer is changing your meter to be able to provide additional services, you have the right to refuse the new meter. You should contact your retailer to advise them of your decision.

However, in some circumstances, you do have to change your meter. For example, if the retailer is changing your meter because it is faulty or has reached the end of its life you cannot refuse a new digital meter. However, you can request that the retailer install a new digital meter without the capacity to communicate remotely. You should contact your retailer about this if you have any concerns.

Why is this happening now?

There have been changes in the national rules. From 1 December 2017, all new meters installed must be digital, and your retailer can assist you with any queries in relation to the digital meter roll out. Prior to this, the responsibility for small customer metering has largely been the responsibility of the distribution networks.

Customers have the choice to shop around for a metering package that best suits their needs. In many cases, retailers may offer a combined meter and tariff package. This includes customers under the Solar Bonus Scheme. All customers are encouraged to shop around for the best deal to suit their needs.

The Government has ensured consumer protections, safety standards and privacy are maintained, and NSW Fair Trading has responsibility for ensuring that retailers and installers meet current safety requirements. For more information on new metering roles and responsibility, visit the Australian Energy Market Commission’s (AEMC) website.

Will digital meters affect my health?

There is no established scientific evidence that the low level electromagnetic field emissions (EMFs), arising from digital meters, causes any health effects.

For more information on smart meters and your health, please see: The Australian Government’s Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency.

How will life support customers be affected?

Life support customers in NSW will have access to retailer offers for digital meters, like any other customer.

Additional safeguards to reduce risks associated with changing meters for a life support customer, include:

  • Life support customers must advise their retailer that they have life support equipment at their premises
  • An obligation on retailers and meter providers to know whether life support equipment is located at the premise
  • A requirement that life support customers are given four business days notice if there will be an interruption to electricity supply, unless the customer agrees in writing to waive this notice period.

These requirements are legally enforceable.

How am I protected?

Customers will continue to have access to energy rebates, hardship programs, payment plans and other protection measures under the new arrangements.

There are strong customer protections regarding disconnections and those customers on life support equipment will also remain unchanged.

If you have any concerns please contact the Energy and Water Ombudsman NSW (EWON) on 1800 246 545. This is a free number and there is no cost to you for contacting EWON. EWON will continue to provide a free service to assist with  customer complaints if you are unable to resolve with your retailer.

  • The National Energy Retail Law External link icon, which commenced in NSW on 1 July 2013, also provides robust protections regarding contract terms and conditions, and the information retailers must provide to customers about contracts and prices.
  • The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal External link icon (IPART) as Market Monitor will continue to monitor the retail electricity market to ensure that customers in NSW are not subject to unfair electricity price increases.

Where can I go for help?

If you need assistance regarding the installation of a new digital meter, or regarding your electricity contract and what charges you pay, contact your electricity retailer for information and advice.

For additional information on choosing a retailer or an electricity deal, you can visit the Energy Made Easy Website at  energymadeeasy.gov.au External link icon.

For information about available energy rebates or emergency assistance, please contact your retailer, or visit the  NSW energy rebates web page.

If you have a dispute with your retailer, you can contact EWON on 1800 246 545 or at  www.ewon.com.au External link icon.

Additional information is available from the Australian Energy Regulator website.