Ever wish you knew how much your bills were before they arrived? Or that you had the ability to know when and how you are using your electricity the most? With AGL’s digital metering, customers will be able to access all these benefits and more.
Below you’ll find answers to frequently asked questions about AGL’s digital metering.
If your question isn’t answered below, please ask a question here in the Community and we’ll get back to you. You can also give us a call on 1300 669 245, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm for more info.
Why am I getting a digital meter?
We are progressively offering new digital meters to selected AGL customers as part of our plan to provide accurate meter reading and billing capabilities. Initially, we are offering the new meters to customers who have experienced difficulties in having their electricity meters read in the past.
Why is AGL offering digital meters to their customers?
Digital meters are the next generation of electricity meters and provide consumers with access to new technologies to help monitor and manage their energy use.
Why does AGL want their customers to have a digital meter?
We want our customers to have access to the latest technology to assist them in being able to monitor and manage their electricity usage better. Digital meters will provide more accurate readings and help to ensure more accurate and timely electricity bills. They also provide the opportunity for AGL to deliver faster, better responses to service requests.
What is a digital meter?
Digital meters are the next generation of electricity meters. Unlike the previous generation of meters they communicate between your home and your energy supplier using a wireless network.
What are the benefits of digital meters?
Digital meters have a range of benefits. Some of these will be available immediately after installation, such as access to our online energy portal called My AGL IQ where you can track your usage, manage and pay your bills and even set alerts for yourself. And you can access all these benefits anywhere, anytime with our free AGL mobile app.
If AGL offers me a digital meter, do I have to accept?
No – if AGL has contacted you to offer a digital meter upgrade, you’re not obliged to accept the offer and can continue to use your existing meter if it functions accurately.
Note that from 1 December 2017, if your existing meter is found to be faulty or has reached its typical end-of-life, you must follow your retailer’s instruction and provide safe access for the installation of a digital meter.
Is there any cost for the installation?
No. If AGL has contacted you to offer a digital meter and your home is suitable for a replacement meter, you won’t have to pay for the meter or for any installation costs. Sometimes, a home may not be suitable for a digital meter. In this case, we won’t perform the installation and you won’t incur any costs.
Will I be charged more for electricity because I have a digital meter?
No. The same electricity rates that apply to your analogue meter will apply to your digital meter.
When will I get my digital meter?
The installation process is occurring progressively and the dates and times of installations will vary from customer to customer. We will write to impacted customers before the installation is due to occur.
How do you know if my home is suitable for a replacement meter?
A technician will perform a home suitability assessment of a range of safety and electrical factors to determine if your home is compatible with a meter upgrade.
What do I need to do to prepare for the installation?
We ask that you make sure the qualified installer has safe and clear access to the meter box at your home. To ensure a smooth installation we may also ask you some specific questions ahead of the installation. In some cases it will be helpful for you to provide us with photos of your existing meter installation (if this is the case we will let you know in advance).
What if I’m not home – will the installation still go ahead?
If there is clear access to your meter box, the meter installation will go ahead without you being home.
Will I lose power during the meter installation?
During the installation, power will generally be unavailable for no more than 30 minutes, however the total installation time may take up to two hours. Safety checks will be completed while the new meter is installed. Please take any advance precautions necessary before the power is switched off (such as with your computer or alarm system).
How long will the installation take?
Installation can take generally between 30 minutes and up to 2 hours (depending on how complex the installation is, most exchanges will be complete in around 40 minutes).
The meter installer had difficulty installing my digital meter. How do I find out more information? Once AGL has confirmed details of a digital meter installation at your property, a qualified electrical installer will be sent to complete the installation. Sometimes during the process, an issue (commonly called a ‘site defect’) is discovered which prevents the installer from continuing immediately with the job. This could include the discovery of electrical issues or on-site contaminants, like asbestos. If this occurs, the meter installer will provide you with information outlining the site defect, why it prevented installation, who is responsible for rectification works and who you should contact to discuss the matter further.
Note that wiring issues associated with the circuitry in the home, the switchboard and the meter box remain the responsibility of the homeowner.
I’m a renter and a site defect has been identified at my property during the installation of a digital meter. What do I do next? All wiring issues associated with the circuitry in the home, the switchboard and the meter box are the responsibility of the homeowner. If a site defect has been discovered at your home, get in touch with your landlord or real estate agency and ask them to address the problem. AGL can guide you through the process.
I rent my property and not sure if my landlord wants the digital meter installed?
We do not need permission from the landlord in order to install a digital meter. We can exchange the meter irrespective of whether you are a renter or not.
Can I get a digital meter for my new house/development? Yes. Simply contact us to discuss the options available.
My new house/development will be completed after 1 December 2017. Which meter do I need? After 1 December 2017, when the new Power of Choice rules take effect, all customers with new homes will have a digital meter installed. Simply contact us to arrange.
Can my digital meter be remotely operated? Yes. Digital meters are equipped with remote functionality to be able to be read, disconnected and reconnected. These meters also have features to protect against hazards such as electric shock and fire damage. If you do not wish to have remote communications enabled on your digital meter, you can request this at the time of installation. Additional charges may apply for digital meters without remote communications and some products or services may not be available.
Is there only one type of meter? Can I choose the meter?
There are different types of meters, each of which is capable of measuring a particular type of electrical installation. Which meter is installed at your property is determined by the electrical configuration at your site (for example, customers with a solar panel will need different metering to customers without a solar panel). We will ensure that you have the right meter for your needs.
What if I have solar?
Some solar customers already have digital meters installed. But if you have solar and don’t have a digital meter you can definitely have one installed.
What technology do you use to send the readings back to AGL/ my retailer for billing?
The meter data is collected from the meter using the secure 3G wireless communications network.
How secure are digital meters and communication networks that transmit data? Digital meters and their communication networks are equipped with advanced security features that prevent unauthorised access.
The wireless links between digital meters and retailers like AGL are encrypted and cannot be disabled. These links do not use the internet, providing further security.
No customer names or addresses are attached to the transmission of meter data.
How often will the meter data be read/collected?
After installation, the meter will initially be read four times per day and that data will be sent to AGL at the end of each day. However, as the infrastructure continues to grow, the meters will be read remotely at half-hourly intervals.
Are digital meters accurate?
Yes. Our digital meters are rigorously tested for accuracy. Our meters are pattern-approved by the National Measurement Institute to the standard metering accuracy level. In addition, we will monitor and conduct regular testing to confirm the accuracy of our meters.
Can I still take a reading from my digital meter?
Yes. The LCD displays the options available to check your electricity consumption. It depends on your meter type how you do this.
There are two buttons on all our meters that will cycle through the key information stored. One type of meter labels the buttons “Connect” and “Select”, the other type has the buttons colour coded Green “for connect” and Clear “for Select”.
In both cases, you simply press and release the Select button to step through each screen of data. Once you reach the last screen the next press will cycle back to the first screen. The screen will have a label number on the left side of the screen, and the reading on the right hand side. The screens are:
01: Standard Time and Date set in the meter.
03: Accumulated read of power used.
13: Accumulated read of power generated and fed into the grid (solar installations only).
07: Accumulated read of off peak load (this screen is only shown on meters that have an off peak hot water service).
What should I do if there is an interruption to my electricity supply?
Call your local electricity distributor. In South Australia this is SA Power Networks and their number for faults and emergencies is 13 13 66. For all other states head to this distributor lookup tool to determine yours.
I live in an area with limited telecommunications coverage. Can I still have a digital meter? Yes. A digital meter installation can still proceed, however the meter technician will need to test the strength of the telecommunications signal to your property. If the signal is found to be too weak to deliver remote services (such as meter readings) to your home, the wireless communications signal may need to be switched off and alternative arrangements put in place. We’ll discuss these alternative arrangements with you if they’re necessary.
I’ve had a digital meter installed and I’m experiencing issues with my electricity supply at home. If you’re experiencing issues with an AGL electricity account which you think are due to your digital meter, contact us and we’ll investigate.
What happens if my meter stops working?
If your power is off and it appears your meter is not working, please call your local electricity distributor. In South Australia this is SA Power Networks, and their number for faults and emergencies is 13 13 66. For all other states head to this distributor lookup tool to determine yours.
Will the information on my bill change?
The calculation of your bills won’t change. However, as analogue meters use start and end reads and digital meters don’t, this information will change slightly on your bill. When the meter is installed a welcome brochure will be left behind and this will contain some more information on how these changes will appear on your AGL electricity bill.
How can a digital meter help me save money?
By recording your electricity usage more accurately and having that information provided to us remotely, you will have access to our online portal My AGL IQ. This terrific online tool will show you your actual electricity consumption up to the end of the previous business day. If you are charged different electricity usage rates for different times of the day, by being informed about what times of the day you’re using your electricity, you can identify ways to move your usage to cheaper times of the day to save money. For example, if you run your washing machine during peak times, it will show you how much you used when you were running your washing machine during peak and, if you have cheaper off peak rates, you could consider running it at the off peak times instead which will save you money.
There are also other appliances available for purchase, such as in-home displays, that can track your usage in real time.
I’m finding it difficult to pay my bills on time and I’m concerned about my electricity being disconnected remotely. What are my options? AGL and other retailers are required to notify customers if a disconnection due to debt may occur. If you’re experiencing financial difficulties and have trouble paying your electricity bill on time, please contact us as soon as possible. AGL’s hardship program, ‘Staying Connected’, is designed to assist customers who are having a hard time paying their energy bills. Visit our Staying Connected page for more details.
Is my consumption data information secure and will it remain confidential?
Yes. Digital meter data is secure and confidential.
No customer names or addresses are attached to the transmission of meter data. The meter number and NMI (National Meter Identifier) are matched up with customer information only after it has reached the central data station, which is hardened and secured.
We also ensure consumption data remains private via tight privacy controls and compliance with the Federal Privacy Act and the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs), which cover the collection, use, disclosure and storage of personal information.
Will AGL sell my electricity use information to third parties?
No. By law, your consumption data can only be accessed by the meter reader, your energy retailer, and others who are entitled to it under the law (such as distribution networks, and other people who you specifically authorise).
Are there any changes to my customer rights if I have a digital meter installed? No. Having a digital meter installed does not affect your customer rights or the protections provided to you under the National Energy Retail Rules. You still have the right to seek and access energy concessions, rebates and hardship schemes offered by AGL, other retailers or the State Government (where applicable in conjunction with each scheme’s conditions). You also retain access to existing dispute resolution paths.
Will the remote reading interfere with other devices (phones, TV or radio)?
No. The digital meter operates at a low frequency and power level and will not interfere with any other equipment.
Do digital meters meet Australian Safety Standards?
Yes. All digital meters meet the wireless electro-magnetic exposure limits set by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) and enforced by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). Digital meters have lower emissions than many other electrical devices commonly found in households, such as mobile and cordless phones, Wi-Fi modems, microwaves, televisions and baby monitors.
All digital meters being installed meet current Australian Standards including those related to safety. For more information, visit http://www.arpansa.gov.au/RadiationProtection/Factsheets/is_smartmeters.cfm
Do digital meters cause health issues, like sleep apnea or headaches? Digital meters are not dangerous. All digital meters installed are regulated by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and have frequencies similar to common household electronics like mobile phones and televisions. The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) sets exposure limits and concludes that ‘no scientific evidence exists that low levels of radio-frequency electromagnetic energy exposure from digital meters causes any health effects or symptoms of ill-health. http://www.arpansa.gov.au/RadiationProtection/Factsheets/is_smartmeters.cfm
For more information, visit: NSW: Are smart meters dangerous to my health? SA: Smart Meters QLD: Digital Meters VIC: Smart Meters Safety
Where can I find out more about Power of Choice? The Australian Energy Market Operator (Australia’s independent energy markets and power systems operator) and the Australian Energy Market Commission (which sets the rules that govern the electricity and natural gas markets) both offer information on the Power of Choice review and its resulting rule changes on their websites:
AEMC - http://www.aemc.gov.au/Major-Pages/Power-of-choice AEMO - https://www.aemo.com.au/Electricity/National-Electricity-Market-NEM/Power-of-Choice
Each state government also has information available on Power of Choice:
QLD - https://www.dews.qld.gov.au/electricity/saving/digital-meter SA - https://www.sa.gov.au/topics/energy-and-environment/meters-and-bills/smart-meters NSW - http://www.resourcesandenergy.nsw.gov.au/energy-consumers/energy-providers/smart-meters-in-nsw VIC - http://victorianenergysaver.vic.gov.au/bills-pricing-and-meters/smart-meters-and-how-they-work
Installation timelines vary between states:
New South Wales
For service line and meter installations, a standard quote will be provided in five business days, and a non-standard quote provided in 10 business days. After you accept the quote, the Distributor will determine the timeframe for the installation.
For meter-only installations, once you have accepted the quote, your gas plumber will advise on installation timelines.
It may take up to 30 business days for service lines and an additional three business days for meter installation. If you are requesting a service line installation, this is usually the longest step in the process, due to site and weather conditions. The Distributor must install the service line before the meter can be installed.
It may take up to 20 business days for service lines and an additional three business days for meter installation. If you are requesting a service line installation, this is usually the longest step in the process, due to site and weather conditions. The Distributor must install the service line before the meter can be installed.
It may take up to 30 business days for service lines and an additional three business days for meter installation.
If you are requesting a service line installation, this is usually the longest step in the process, due to site and weather conditions. The Distributor must install the service line before the meter can be installed.
Mains construction may take up to eight weeks. For service lines, it is three weeks for new build dwellings and one week for existing dwellings.
Your Distributor (the company responsible for the poles, wires and meters in your area) and Meter Provider (the company responsible for the meters in your area) are responsible for visiting the site and installing the meter. In most cases, it should take between 15-30 business days to complete a standard work request, depending on the state you're in.
You'll need to make sure that they can access your site. This means:
A clean site, free from rubbish
Clear access to the meter box
If your site is not in a satisfactory condition, the Distributor will attempt to speak to the site contact and alert us to advise of any issues. If we are contacted, we will then notify you.
There are three types of gas installations that you can apply for:
A mains construction is where there is no existing gas mains available in the street.
A service line installation is where there is no existing gas line connected to the meter box. The service line must be in place prior to a gas meter being installed.
A meter only installation is where there is an existing service line installed, and only the physical meter is required.
Because fees vary according to the work required and the Distributor operating in your area, we are unable to quote a set fee. Charges are set by your Distributor and passed on by AGL.
While your acceptance of any standard fees is required as part of your application, if your Distributor classifies your fee as non-standard, we will get in touch before proceeding.
We’ll contact you if your request attracts any non-standard charges. It's important to know that if your distributor can't access your home or business for any reason at the agreed time, this may incur a penalty fee, which you will be responsible for.