Over 300,000 Auckland-based Mercury Energy customers will receive a new smart meter for their electricity services through Mercury's metering services provider, Metrix.
Smart meters record usage in 30 minute periods, meaning that information for bills will always be up to date. This information can also be used by customers to manage their power consumption.
The meters, which are now being installed, can also be read remotely, replacing physical visits by meter readers each month. The meters use adaptive radio mesh technology to conduct the remote readings, a system first developed for military applications.
“The use of smart meters enables the development of more flexible electricity pricing plan options that can be tailored to customers’ needs – much like mobile phone plans today," says Mercury Energy’s general manager, John Foote. "We are only at the start of the journey but this could have the same impact on the retail electricity sector that electronic transaction technology did in the banking industry in the late 1980s and early 1990s.”
Mercury Energy has partnered with Otago University to conduct a study of how customers use better information on consumption and different pricing plans to change their energy usage behaviour.