Smart Meters QLD: Why should you get a smart meter?
Across Australia, smart meters are replacing the old analogue meters we’ve been using for years. In Queensland, this is no different. Smart meters allow you to more accurately read your energy usage to better understand your energy bills. Find out more about smart meters in Queensland, including how to get a smart meter and why you should get one, by reading more below.
What is a smart meter? What do smart meters look like?
Smart meters, also known as digital meters or advanced meters, are electricity meters that measure energy usage every 30 minutes, as opposed to traditional meters which only read your cumulative energy usage. With a smart meter, you can better read and understand your energy usage, gain insights into your solar energy generation, and benefit from remote meter readings.
What do smart meters look like?
Smart meters are small, grey, boxes, found on the outside of your home or apartment building. These boxes have a digital display, which shows information such as date and time, and total kWh usage. However, the most important piece of information found on your smart meter is your National Metering Identifier (NMI). This unique 10 or 11-digit number identifies your electricity meter, and can be used to learn more about your electricity connection.
How to read a smart meter QLD
While you can’t usually read a smart meter manually, there are ways to view and understand your energy usage. Most energy providers offer online portals, or phone applications, where you can view your energy usage by the hour, day, week, or year. Usually, you will be able to view your energy usage through your provider’s account management platform within 1-3 days.
Are smart meters compulsory in QLD?
While not technically compulsory, in Queensland, smart meters are required for any new or replacement electricity meters. This includes:
- New homes or connections
- Replacing old or faulty meters
- Support for a chosen electricity product (such as a new electricity tariff or solar PV system)
- To replace functioning meters as part of an electricity provider’s digital meter rollout
If your energy provider is rolling out digital meters to customers, you should receive a notice by post or email stating as such. If you're not quite ready to give up your analogue meter, and your analogue meter doesn't need to be replaced yet, you can usually contact your energy provider and request that they don't yet replace your meter with a smart one.
Are smart meters safe?
Like any new technology, when smart meters first came out there was concern over the side effects of smart meters, more specifically there was concern over the electromagnetic radiation smart meters use to transmit data to your energy distributor.
Smart meters rely on low-level radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic energy (EME) to communicate with your energy distributor in short bursts of information. The technology behind smart meters is not new and many wireless devices, including mobile phones, use RF EME.
Radiofrequency electromagnetic energy has been the subject of controversy for a while, with many claiming it can cause long-term health issues while others anecdotally claim side effects such as memory loss, dizziness, or mood changes. Despite these claims, there is little scientific data to support the idea that smart meters are dangerous.
According to the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA), the low power of smart meters, combined with their exterior location and short transmission periods means that overall RF EME exposure is too low to cause adverse side-effects and there is no established evidence that smart meters can cause health issues.
How to get a smart meter in QLD
In Queensland, smart meter installation is managed by your energy retailer. You’ll need to contact your energy provider, who will then organize the installation with a licensed and qualified electrician.
Installing a smart meter in Queensland
In order to get a smart meter installed onto your property, you’ll first need to contact your energy provider so they can set up the installation with a licensed electrician. Once you have a smart meter installation date, the electrician will come to actually install the new meter onto your property.
The electrician will come to your home, remove your old meter, and replace it with the digital one. This process shouldn’t take much longer than an hour, and you should only be without power for that time.
In order to facilitate the installation of your new digital electricity meter, make sure the electrician has safe and unencumbered access to your house.
How much do smart meters cost? Can I get a free smart meter in QLD
Most energy providers in Queensland are replacing and installing smart meters for free, at no cost to the energy consumer. However, it’s best to read the fine print and make sure there are no hidden costs elsewhere to offset the installation price.
If there is any concern over safety or access for the installation of your smart meter, your energy provider reserves the right to charge you to fix the issue. This can include hazards such as asbestos removal or other dangers.
Why should I get a smart meter in Queensland?
Smart meters give you more control over your electricity usage and bills. By giving you more accurate information about how your energy is being used, you can save money on your energy bills. Some of the benefits of smart meters include:
More accurate readings: Smart meters digitally send information about your energy usage to your distributor in 30-minute intervals, and allow for remote readings. This means you won’t have energy bills based on estimated readings, and will be charged based on your actual consumption.
Remote readings: If you need a special reading, or a disconnection/reconnection, your energy distributor can charge you upwards of $100 in fees. With a smart meter, however, these readings, connections, and disconnections can be done remotely with a smaller fee (usually around $12).
Choice in tariff: Smart meters allow you to access a time-of-use tariff, rather than just a flat-rate tariff. With a time-of-use tariff, you’ll be charged more for your energy usage during peak times when there is more pressure on the electricity grid, but charged less when there is less pressure.
Solar panels: If you’re interested in solar energy in QLD, a smart meter is necessary to monitor your solar energy generation, usage, and what you send back to the grid. This means you can see exactly how much you get from your solar feed-in-tariff, allowing you to manage your own energy consumption to earn more with your solar energy.
Need more help with managing your energy bills? Check your eligibility for electricity rebates in Queensland to find out what additional help may be available for you.