Local residents left to wait for power meters

AS IF Eyre Peninsula residents and businesses did not have enough energy issues on their plate, they are now dealing with long wait times to simply get a meter installed.

In December last year the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) made changes to the national rules regarding electricity.

It was hoped the changes would provide customers with more options to control their electricity consumption, expand competition in metering services and provide more efficient and flexible energy pricing for customers. 

Unfortunately, it appears all the reform has done is make it harder for regional residents and small businesses to even get their meter connected. 

Traditionally, SA Power Networks had installed and maintained electricity meters but thanks to the changes that job now belongs to energy retailers (the people who manage electricity bills) and by the sounds of things they are far from doing a bang-up job. 

The reform was designed to streamline the process and give customers more control of their energy usage but to do that, there needs to be shift away from traditional meters toward new advanced meters.

But electrician Steve Hankins said on today’s front page that the problem with that is that there is no one local who is trained to install advanced meters.

And that means retailers have to send their own people from as far away as Adelaide.

On top of that, SA Power Networks also need to be on site for the installation to turn the power on and off.

The whole process has become convoluted and unnecessarily difficult.

That is not to say these changes don’t have real merit, they probably do.

If consumers will be able to monitor and alter their energy usage, and if these meters provide access to cheaper power and more options that is a really positive change.

But the meters need to be installed before anyone can start to see these benefits.

It seems the state government and the Energy and Water Ombudsman is now acting on these issues and are communicating with SA Power Networks and retailers to get solutions in place.

Hopefully customers on Eyre Peninsula or other regions in South Australia will not be left in the dark for too much longer on when their meters will be installed.