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."