New POWER OF CHOICE METER RULES
Any new or replacement meter for homes or small businesses will be a smart meter, installed by your electricity retailer.
New regulations designed by the Australian Energy Market Commission to give you greater choice in the delivery of some electricity services. This is not directly related to the Solar Industry but the supply of electricity in general.
Under these new rules the energy retailers (ie the company you choose to send your bills) will be responsible for installing any new and replacement meters. For residential and small business customers any new or replacement meter will be a smart meter, although customers can ask their retailer to install it without the remote communication hardware, if they'd prefer. In this instance their retailer will need to arrange for the meter to be manually read.
TYPES OF METERS
Accumulation Meters (Flat Rate Meters)
Accumulation meters only keep track of the total electricity usage. This means you are charged the same amount for the electricity you use, regardless of when you use it. For this reason these meters are also known as Flat Rate Meters.
Accumulation meters can be Electronic or Electromechanical.Electronic accumulation meters have a digital display. Electromechanical accumulation meters have two different types of displays – a dial display or a cyclometer display.
Above left: Cyclometer display Middle: Dial display Right: Digital display
Interval Meters (Time Of Use Meters)
Interval meters record how much electricity is used every 30 minutes. This means you can have different electricity rates for usage at different times of the day, depending on the tariff you sign up to with your electricity retailer. Some of the benefits of interval meters include more detailed information on your energy use and the opportunity for pricing plans that provide incentives to reduce your demand for electricity during peak times. For this reason, these meters are also known as time of use meters.
Interval meters are all electronic. The display of the interval meter is programmed to show the date and time (in Eastern Standard Time as required by the National Electricity Rules) as well as the total kilowatt hours (kWh).
Above left: E1 (single phase), Middle: E2 (single phase dual element) Right: E3 (three phase)
The meter readings are collected via remote communications systems. Apart from the aspect of remote reading, these meters record your energy in the same way as interval meters, that is, recording how much electricity is used every 30 minutes. This means you can have time of use pricing.
Above left and right: Two types of smart meter
Net Meters (Will export excess solar power to the grid)
To export excess power so your solar system produces back to the grid, you will need a Net Meter. Sometimes these are already installed and can be identified by the wire coming from the meter and usually connected to the outside of the meterbox. The following images are examples of Net Meters.