Discussion about sharing of the benefits of smart metering at the smart grid conference in Wellington, coincided with the drawing of a Green Party member’s bill on that theme from the Parliamentary ballot last week.
The Smart Meters (Consumer Choice) Bill, under the name of Green MP David Clendon, stipulates that a customer should, when their meter is upgraded, be offered certain prescribed smarts. These include a home display recording their consumption, a meter that measures both inflow and outflow of electricity (allowing excess home-generated electrification to be fed back into the grid) and a differential tariff, thus allowing the customer to save money by deferring consumption to a cheaper time of day.
Some delegates at the conference suggested that the Electricity Industry Bill, already going through Parliament and set to reform the industry’s governance, is working against the last of these objectives, by requiring “more standardised” tariffs.
This, it was suggested, would mean fewer tariff steps, less differentiation among suppliers’ tariffs and less opportunity for the customer to save money through smart metering.
Electricity Commission chairman David Caygill, who spoke at the conference, disputed this as being an accurate interpretation of the clause.