Q: We have been advised by our power supplier that smart meters are being installed in our area.
Can we opt out and keep our original meter? We paid for it when we built our home.
— Chris Tonks
A: Chris, because you did not advise your location or supplier, I asked several major electricity retailers for their response.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
A spokesperson for Genesis Energy says its customers have received advanced meters for the past four years as part of a five-year rollout to replace ageing analogue meters. Currently about 390,000 Genesis Energy electricity customers have advanced meters. The new meters are installed and owned by Advanced Meter Services, a subsidiary of Vector. Electricity meters are not the property of home or business owners, they are generally owned by a metering business such as AMS. All old meters in New Zealand are required by the Government to be tested and recertified by 2015. This, plus the benefits of highly accurate meter reads and real time electricity usage data for customers has prompted the mass installation of new advanced meters. Under Genesis terms and conditions they can replace a meter with an advanced meter.
And Mighty River Power (of which Mercury Energy is a retail division) agrees. Their spokeswoman says that without knowing the specifics of this case, it looks like the reader is confusing the cost of establishing a connection from a new property to the network, for which they will have paid, with the cost of the meter, which they will not have paid. MRP is unaware of any party charging for providing a meter. The meter is the property of the metering provider and always has been, whether it is a smart meter or an older existing meter installation. Smart meters are being rolled out to homes and businesses nationwide. About one million consumers, more than half the homes and businesses in New Zealand, have already had their meters upgraded to smart meters.
Contact Energy's approach to installing smart meters is to write to its customers to provide them with information and the process of confirming a suitable installation time. Where a customer indicates that they do not wish to have a new smart meter installed, Contact works with them to understand any concerns and discuss other options.
Just Energy is not aware of any smart meters being installed by them at this stage. The best option for this person would be to call their retailer and discuss this with them. If there are health issues resulting from smart meter technology the customer may be able to have the logger that submits the readings remotely removed from the new meter.
Meridian Energy is currently planning its smart meter rollout.
I had no response from TrustPower.