Vector’s metering arm Vector Advanced Metering Services — which provides metering for more than one million homes and businesses in New Zealand — has secured a three year contract to provide metering services to Australian power generator EnergyAustralia that its says will see it deploying advanced meters on behalf of at least four electricity retailers in 2018 across New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and the ACT.
Vector Group CEO Simon Mackenzie, said the company would be taking the experience and expertise gained from managing New Zealand’s largest energy network along with its investment in developing new energy technologies and partnerships, and exporting them to Australia, and also to other markets in the Pacific.
“Vector is looking forward to building on our New Zealand experience and being part of EnergyAustralia’s new Power of Choice journey and supporting their aim to provide a world-class customer experience,” he said.
Power of Choice refers to reforms to the Australian electricity market that come into effect in December 2017. Currently electricity distributors (the companies that provide local infrastructure like poles and wires, not the companies that sell electricity) have been responsible for managing the installation, maintenance and reading of meters.
Under the new regime electricity retailers will be able to choose their metering provider. The change is expected to significantly boost the uptake of smart metering, which is presently low in Australia.
Vector has given no indication of the number of meters it expects to install under these contracts. However, Energy Networks Australia reported in July predictions that the new rules would likely see almost two million meters being installed between 2016 and 2020 to replace old meters and connect new customers, with possibly three million other smart meters installed where customers take up new technologies or tariffs.
It added: “Even with these projections, smart meter penetration will be below 60 percent - well behind most markets in Asia and Europe.” It would also be well below New Zealand where smart meter penetration tops 70 percent.