Smart electricity meters on the rise

Last updated 16:03 22/01/2014

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Half of the country's two million electricity meters have now been replaced by "smart meters" that can record people's electricity usage every half hour and send that information back to retailers.

The Electricity Authority said one million smart meters had now been installed across New Zealand and it expected that number to rise to 1.2 million by April next year.

Smart meters have partly done away with manual meter readings but are not yet being widely used to reward consumers for shifting electricity consumption to off-peak times.

Genesis Energy, which has installed 395,000 smart meters, launched variable-rate tariffs in June that let some of its customers in Canterbury and the Waikato pay peak, off-peak and shoulder rates for electricity, with prices that vary according to the time of the day and that are lower at weekends.

Spokesman Richard Gordon said thousands of the tens of thousands of customers who had the option to take up the new tariffs had done so.

Electricity Authority chief executive Carl Hansen said many retailers were now marketing special packages for customers with smart meters. But Gordon said he was not aware of other retailers that had followed Genesis' lead.

"I wouldn't want to say we are the first, but we are certainly at the leading edge offering this type of product."

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- Fairfax Media

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