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Australian Smart Meters that Create Savings to Kick In


NEW electricity price plans that charge different rates by the time of day and could save some Victorian households $150 a year are set for release.

Customers are rewarded most for using power late at night, early in the morning and on weekends and pay a ­premium for weekday peak times under optional flexible tariffs to be marketed from Tuesday.

Some could face a summer surcharge for using airconditioners and other appliances during weekday afternoons and dinner times in the hottest months of the year.

The voluntary rates, for households with active smart meters, cost most for electricity use from 3pm-9pm weekdays, compared with off-peak discounts for 10pm-7am on weekdays and weekends.

A shoulder rate applies from 7am-3pm and 9pm-10pm on weekdays and 7am-10pm on weekends.

Major retailers AGL, ­EnergyAustralia and Origin are among those who will offer the plans.

Consumers are being urged to consider whether time-of-use consumption charges are compatible with their lifestyle.

They can trial them with an existing retailer, and return to regular flat rates if the new tariffs are unsuitable, without incurring administration fees, until March 31, 2015.

“The key message is people who can sustainably shift their energy out of peak times are best positioned to benefit,” AGL marketing retail and sales general manager Mark Brownfield said.

AGL’s published basic “standing offers” have peak charges 52 per cent to 98 per cent higher than off-peak, ­depending where customers live.

The shoulder rates are similar to the standard flat rates most people currently pay.

The default offers also list a “summer peak” rate in the southeastern suburbs and the Mornington Peninsula that is higher than the peak for the rest of the year.

Mr Brownfield said customers interested in AGL’s flexible tariffs would need to phone to discuss electricity use patterns.

EnergyAustralia modelling has found some of its customers, who already use a lot of ­energy on weekends and late at night, would save more than $150 a year.

Retail group executive manager Adrian Merrick said customers wanted more control over electricity bills.

EnergyAustralia will release three types of flexible plans aimed at people at home during the day; workers away from home on weekdays; and shift workers. There are no separate summer rates.

Some industry sources said although some Victorians could expect to cut bills ­dramatically with flexible tariffs, savings of 2 to 5 per cent would be more typical.

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