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Smart Grid report adds to downward pressure on power bills

31 July, 2014

Business and household electricity users could benefit from lower power prices and the electricity sector stands to gain a net economic benefit of up to $28 billion over the next 20 years through better use of electricity, according to a new report.

Industry minister Ian Macfarlane said the Smart Grid, Smart City project report provided further evidence of why the ongoing programme of energy market reform led by the Commonwealth was important to put the maximum downward pressure on electricity bills. 

"The project ran trials of a range of 'smart' technologies for households and with electricity suppliers. Over four years 17,000 houses monitored energy use with smart meters and other technology to test usage patterns and weigh up greater energy efficiency," Macfarlane said. 

"The report shows that these technologies could be used in a way that gives consumers the ability to monitor their energy use and to have greater control over the way they use electricity, including when they access power and at what cost. If people can use extra information to opt out of peak time supply, it would ease the strain on the system and keep prices lower.

"This important and complex work has produced some very useful data that will contribute to the broader policy development for Australia's energy future. 

"This trial has shown that with smart technology used in the right way, Australians can pay less for electricity."

The analysis shows potential savings of up to $28 billion over the next 20 years, through:

  • Technological development, deployment and enablement of smart grid technologies
  • Cost reflective electricity pricing including dynamic tariffs
  • Changing consumer behaviour
  • Energy market reform

The Australian Government worked in partnership with Ausgrid, Energy Australia and their industry partners on the Smart Grid, Smart City trial.  The results will be shared with energy providers, industry and the community. 

"Through the COAG Energy Council, the Australian Government is pursuing ongoing energy market reform to ensure Australia's electricity sector is effective, efficient and affordable," Macfarlane said. 

"The implementation of smart meters and other technologies for consumers who want to use them is an important consideration.  The bottom line is that any new technology should empower consumers to lower their bills, without adding extra costs. 

"The full range of issues relating to the energy sector is also being considered in the Government's comprehensive Energy White Paper process."

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Goldie | Saturday, August 2, 2014, 11:39 AM
We are told that a percentage of the energy generating capacity in Australia is idled because of a lack of demand yet this story says "if people can use extra information to opt out of peak time supply , it would ease the strain on the system and keep prices lower". Something is not gelling, it looks like the generators response to a slow down for their product has led to an 'idling' so they can still say we have peak periods and charge people more. Mmm. They also talk about 'changing consumer behaviour' well they can chalk a success up on that one and that is why they now have an excess generating capacity. There has been a seismic shift in attitudes in response to price gouging and it will only continue as the power industry got a little too greedy for their own good. Energy market reform it says, to ensure that Australia's electricity sector is effective, efficient and affordable. It will never be the latter, the ripoffs will continue, just what have we got for our money, no bastard knows, no one is telling and what's more no one in authority is asking. If the current prices have not been enough to convince people to manage it all better than nothing will. Someone turning them off from afar will be the only effective strategy. 'Smart meter and other technologies' just what might they be and what exactly do smart meters do that the current meters don't? More info from the author would help.
Graeme | Monday, August 4, 2014, 9:26 AM
Several years ago I listened to an energy sector rep at a seminar on on energy, carbon emission etc. He said that when there is a heavy demand in one area that cannot be met by local generators they have to "buy" electricity from areas of lower demand. This is sold at excessively inflated prices. At that time he said that it would cost anywhere up to $10,000 per megawatt of electricity. (It would at that time cost $35 per megawatt to produce. He further stated that when enough of the population where on smart meters they would start to pass on that cost directly to consumers by using the information from their smart meters. Furthermore, If it supposedly helps you to decide not to use electricity during peak demand that means that when you get home from work (during peak demand period) you will not be able to heat or cool your house or cook your meals! I don't know about the rest of the population but I don't want to have to eat at 10.00pm or shower at 4.00am just to be able to afford to do so. As Goldie said, the less we use the more we get charged.