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, replacing analogue ones. They measure your home’s electricity use in 30-minute intervals, and can send this data automatically to your energy retailer every day using a secure wireless network. Digital meters allow you to have correct meter readings and more accurate bills, plus they give you the power to track your usage, manage and pay your bills and even set alerts for yourself using AGL IQ in the AGL Energy App. Digital meters are installed by qualified electricians, and depending on your home’s set up and situation, the installation process normally takes 30 minutes to 2 hours to complete.
What are the benefits of digital meters?
Digital meters can be used to help you identify when your electricity usage peaks. With our helpful online tools, including AGL My Account and the AGL App, you can view more timely data – so you don’t have to wait until your bill arrives to see your usage charges. Another key benefit of digital meters is more accurate meter reads. As digital meters can be read remotely and your usage data is sent automatically, in most cases the need for on-site meter reads and estimated bills is significantly reduced.
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.
Can I opt of meter upgrades?
We’ll notify you if we're planning an upgrade to your current meter, at which point, you can contact us to opt out. However, opting out of a current or future new meter deployment won’t stop you from receiving a digital meter if your current meter needs to be replaced for technical, regulatory or maintenance reasons.
For more information, see the Australian Energy Regulator’s Smart Meters and You Fact Sheet.
Is there any cost for the installation?
Where we exchange your existing meter for a digital meter, you won’t have to pay for any upfront standard installation costs. In some cases, following a visit from our meter technician, you may be asked to undertake remedial works at your own (or your landlord’s) cost to ensure the site is safe, accessible and suitable for a new meter installation.
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).
If my meter is being upgraded, will I need to be at the property for the installation
If there’s safe and clear access to your meter, you don’t have to be at the property during the installation. For example, please ensure there are no obstacles around the meter (including debris, vegetation, pests or animals) and that any gates or meter boxes are unlocked. If you have concerns about accessibility of the meter, please contact us ahead of your scheduled visit.
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. There was a site defect during the digital meter installation. What do I do? 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. Do I need my landlord's permission to install a digital meter?
Where consent is required, AGL will seek it from whomever occupies the premises (i.e. the electricity customer). We don’t require permission from the landlord.
Can I get a digital meter for my new house/development? Yes. With the Australian Government’s Power of Choice reforms which came into effect in December 2017, all customers with new homes will have a digital meter installed. Simply contact us to arrange.
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 usage. 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.
What if I live in an area with limited telecommunications coverage? 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 in your area is weak, we may need to manually read your meter, which may mean you’ll still receive estimated bills. We’ll discuss these alternative arrangements with you if necessary.
I had a digital meter installed recently now I'm experiencing electricity supply issues. If you’re experiencing issues 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 usage 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 information secure and will it remain confidential?
Will AGL sell my electricity use information to third parties?
No. By law, your usage 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 meet current Australian Standards, including those related to safety. 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. For more information, view the ARPANSA factsheet.
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 and have frequencies similar to common household electronics like mobile phones and televisions. The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency 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'.
For more information, visit: NSW: Are smart meters dangerous to my health? SA: Smart Meters QLD: Digital Meters VIC: Smart Meters Safety
What is Power of Choice?
Power of Choice is a government-led, industry-wide program to provide consumers with more opportunities to make informed choices about the way you use electricity products and services.
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
Your National Meter Identifier (NMI) is a unique number that you'll need if you change your electricity retailer. It’s always listed on the back of your electricity bill.
What is the NMI used for?
Every connection to the national electricity network is given its own NMI (National Meter Identifier). The NMI is used to ensure the correct meter data is connected to your account. The NMI is also used to:
identify your supply address
identify the meters and meter types at your connected address
ensure that you are billed for the right amount of usage at your property.
Where do I find my NMI? You can find your NMI (11 digits) under ‘Your electricity supply details’ on page 2 of your electricity bill. To obtain specific information about a NMI, please reach out to our web chat team here.
Does my NMI ever change? The NMI should always stay the same for your electricity network connection point unless the location of your electricity network connection point changes - e.g. When a building is demolished, and a new meter is installed.
Does my NMI stay the same when I move? The NMI is associated with an electricity network connection point, therefore when you move, you will have a new NMI at your new location.