Smart meters rolled out in parts of NSW to help boost solar savings

New South Wales electricity distributor Endeavour Energy is making electricity easier to manage for solar customers thanks to its latest smart meter program.

In partnership with utility services company Intellihub as well as ten power retailers, the ‘Off Peak Plus’ program in Albion Park is set to help the way households consume off peak electricity.

Endeavour Energy’s CEO Guy Chalkley said the initiative was introduced to lower carbon emissions and help customers save money, while also improving network performance.

“Endeavour Energy initiated this program to solve the problem of replacing and upsizing a 50-year-old, off-peak control system in its nearby substation,” he said. “By using advanced smart meters, instead of investing in expensive old technology at the substation, Endeavour Energy can save real dollars and cents for our customers by finding ways to help them capture more affordable solar energy.”

Mr Chalkley explained the addition of these smart meters will allow for quicker responses during disasters as well as greater access to surplus solar power in the area.

“We’ll also be able to access energy and power quality data through the smart meter to help us better respond to issues and outages, particularly during storms, giving customers even safer and more reliable energy.

“The installed meters can dynamically control hot water systems, allowing them to be switched on during the day when surplus power is being generated from household solar systems, helping lower customers’ electricity bills,” Mr Chalkley said.

The Off Peak Plus program – which is currently in operation across a small pocket in Albion Park – has seen smart meters installed at 2,500 homes.

Utilising off peak electricity times, these smart meters allow customers to monitor their energy usage and manage costs, as well as enabling access to neighbouring house’s excess solar for the heating of hot water systems.

NSW Energy Minister, Matt Kean said with almost a quarter of all homes now on solar, this initiative will give customers more control over their power usage while also enabling safer and more reliable electricity.

“Nowhere else in Australia are we seeing this level of collaboration and innovation within the electricity sector to produce community wide benefits. This state-of-the-art program has found a way to manage peak energy demand, helping to future proof the grid with even more home solar systems,” Mr Kean said.

Despite this innovative feat, the Off Peak Plus program isn’t the first instance of solar sharing seen in Australia, with several providers like AGL and Origin already generating small solar power communities through dedicated Virtual Power Plants, otherwise known as VPPs.

I’m in Sydney: Can I access the Off Peak Plus program?

Unless you’re one of the 2,500 residential properties across Albion Park with a dedicated installed smart meter, you won’t be able to access this specific program. However, it’s initiatives like the Off Peak Plus that help generate more exposure and funding around future programs being carried out in other areas of NSW.

NSW Energy Plans

Don’t have access to the Off Peak Plus program but still looking to save some money? Check out some of the cheapest electricity prices in your region, by clicking on your distribution area below. For a more specific quote, head to our comparison tool and type in your postcode.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the Ausgrid network in Sydney but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 3900kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the Endeavour Energy network in Wollongong but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4900kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the Essential Energy network in Coffs Harbour but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4600kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

What is a smart meter?

A smart meter is used to record your electricity usage, which is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh) and then sent to your energy provider for billing purposes. As opposed to traditional meters which require a physical meter reading to be carried out, a smart meter records data live and sends it off to your retailer every 30 minutes. Smart meters are generally more accurate than conventional meters and as such, may save households on power costs.

How do I get a smart meter?

The installation of a smart meter is generally organised by your electricity provider. In some areas, smart meters have already been rolled out, replacing existing broken or outdated meters. The cost of installing a smart meter will vary, but as a general guide, expect to pay around $600. It’s important to note that some providers may waive the fee or incorporate the costs into energy bills, which is why it’s best to contact your provider to find out how much it’ll cost.

Do you need solar to get a smart meter?

Smart meters can be installed on your property with or without a solar system. While it may be more beneficial to households with solar as a way of measuring solar exports more accurately (and efficiently), smart meters can be used by customers without solar panels. Customers with a smart meter will have the option of choosing a time of use tariff, where electricity is charged at different rates depending on the time of day.


Image credit: Krisana Antharith/Shutterstock.com

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