A new technical standard for smart meters is in effect as of 28 September 2020.
The standard requires that they must be capable of separately measuring and controlling an electricity generating plant and controllable load from essential load and must be installed in accordance with any guidelines issued by the Technical Regulator.
A smart meter is an advanced, digital meter which records electricity usage every 30 minutes and sends usage information remotely. It must also meet the minimum services specification, as per the National Electricity Rules (NER).
The minimum services specification sets out a list of services that a meter must be capable of providing, including (but not limited to) the remote de-energisation and re-energisation of the smart meter, rather than focusing on the technical components that must be included (such as the number of elements).
Often, these technical components are left to others to determine, as well as other national standards that industry must comply with (for example, AS/NZS 3000 which details the Wiring Rules).
The installation, maintenance and management of electricity meters was the responsibility of the Distribution Network Service Provider, SA Power Networks (SAPN) prior to 1 December 2017. The responsibility was then transferred to a new Participant – a Metering Coordinator (MC), as part of the AEMC’s final rule. In addition, retailers are now required to appoint an MC for their customers, unless the customer has appointed an MC themselves.
In South Australia, roughly 4,000 smart meters are installed each month. This can be for a variety of reasons, such as the customer having a new solar photovoltaic (PV) system installed.
Often, a new smart meter is wired in the lowest cost manner and the installation process includes aggregating all distributed solar generation at the site, together with the customer’s general load. Customers with controlled load have this controlled load separated from other essential load, however, in general, load associated with smart appliances is aggregated with essential load.
From 28 September 2020, a meter installed at a connection point must be capable of separately measuring and controlling an electricity generating plant and controllable load from the essential load.
The guideline specifies the ‘Smart meter minimum technical standard’ and the ‘Deemed to comply wiring arrangements’, which is applicable to metering coordinators, metering providers and electrical contractors.
Update: June 2022
The meter installation is required to comply with the Technical Regulator Guideline - Smart Meter Minimum Technical Standard (PDF, 1.1 MB)
This Technical Regulator Guideline is an updated version and includes the following changes:
- Section 6.9 (note 3) now reads:
SA Power Networks allows the connection of a solar inverter capacity of 10 kW in a single-phase electrical installation – see TS 129. Metering Providers should install metering devices where the 2nd / auxiliary metering terminal has a current carrying capacity of at least 50 amps to accommodate a 10kW inverter, capable of outputting approximately 44 amps (based on AS/NZS 4777.1:2016 calculations).
- Appendix A (d) has had the following text removed from Solar installation wiring equipment:
‘Replacement of a solar inverter outside of warranty is required to comply with the Default DCWAs.’
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Smart meters, displays and appliances - Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment
For further information regarding the regulatory changes for smarter homes contact the Office of the Technical Regulator: