23 Jan 2014

More than 1 million smart meters installed in NZ

7:18 am on 23 January 2014

Competition between the major energy retailers has driven the installation of more than 1 million smart meters in homes and businesses across the country.

The Electricity Authority says the large take-up of smart meters comes despite the move not being mandated in this country, like it is in many others.

Smart meters allow consumers to monitor how much electricity they are using and can help to reduce energy consumption.

Authority chief executive Carl Hansen says Meridian, Genesis and Mercury are using the installation of the meters as a way to gain a competitive edge in the energy market.

He says strong competition between the retailers mean that the new meters are not being specifically charged to consumers, which differs from other countries where consumers are being charged to have smart meters.

Mr Hansen says it could cost a consumer up to $900 to have a smart meter installed in some other countries which have made it compulsory.

He says government officials in Australia are looking very closely at New Zealand and have announced they are going to adopt the contestable, competitive approach that New Zealand has in many of their states.

Mr Hansen says some retailers are rolling out special packages to encourage consumers to reduce their consumption, and encouraging and rewarding consumers to shift their electricity consumption to off-peak periods when costs are lower.