Victorian network tariffs and smart-meter rollout approved

The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) approved increases in Victorian electricity network tariffs for the period January 1, 2012, to December, 31, 2012, for the distribution network service providers (DNSPs), CitiPower, Powercor, Jemena Electricity Networks, SP AusNet and United Energy.

“The AER is satisfied that all Victorian DNSPs’ network tariffs are recovering only the costs that the AER has approved in its final determination and that they comply with the Rules framework,” AER chairman Andrew Reeves said.

Victoria’s electricity distribution businesses also welcomed the Victorian Government’s decision in December 2011 to continue the rollout of smart meters to Victorian homes and businesses.

“Upgrading Victoria’s electricity infrastructure to smart meters is the right decision now and in the long term for consumers,” Energy Networks Association (ENA) chief executive Malcolm Roberts said on behalf of CitiPower, Jemena, Powercor Australia, SP AusNet and United Energy.

“The program has now been independently reviewed by the Victorian Department of Treasury and Finance and the outcome of that review has confirmed that the program’s benefits outweigh the costs, and that smart meters are safe.”

The smart meter rollout has also resulted in the detection of safety problems in meter boxes and customers’ wiring in some 7000 homes.

“In the long term, more benefits will flow from replacing old analogue meters. Smart meters will be the foundation of all major electricity innovation for some decades,” Mr Roberts said.

“As new services are added to the smart meter platform, consumers will have more options to manage their energy use. Businesses are developing in-home displays and internet portals to empower customers.”

Energy Safe Victoria completed a comprehensive investigation into smart meters and their installation earlier this year, finding that meters are being installed safely and by qualified and trained people.