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Smart meters’ cost significantly outweighing benefit

Smart meters have cost Victorians more than $2.2 billion but are failing to achieve their expected benefits, a new report shows.

The smart meter roll out began in 2009 with the aim to improve consumers’ ability to monitor electricity use, reduce industry costs associated with reading meters, and increase retail competition.

But in a report tabled to State Parliament this morning, Auditor General John Doyle found the overall cost of the smart meter program has significantly outweighed the benefits.

Mr Doyle found two-thirds of Victorian consumers do not understand how to minimise their energy bills, while less than one percent of consumers have taken up flexible electricity price offers. 

Claire Maries of the Consumer Action Law Centre told Neil Mitchell that consumers just don’t understand what the benefits of Smart Meters are. 

‘You can work out how much energy you’re using and what times of day you’re using it,’ Ms Maries said on Wednesday.

‘You could use that data to find an energy deal with a retailer that would give you cheaper rates at certain times of day.

Ms Maries said people don’t know they can access that information.

‘We need to make it really easy for real people to get data out of their meter, in a way that’s understandable.’

LISTEN: Claire Maries of the Consumer Action Law Centre talks Smart Meters with Neil Mitchell