Metering switch causes chaos
While the level of disruption is unacceptable, issues surrounding the new Power of Choice electricity reforms (metering changes) are being addressed.
The reform process, switching the responsibility of metering services from SA Power Networks to energy retailers, was overseen by the Australian Energy Market Commission on December 1 last year.
Despite steps being taken to ensure a smooth transition, many customers have faced lengthy delays in obtaining new or replacement meters.
According to Member for Flinders Peter Treloar, customers on the Eyre Peninsula have been hit exceptionally hard, with his office receiving a barrage of complaints.
“Customers and electricians have been ripping their hair out, finding it near impossible to coordinate all parties to be on site at the same time. This has meant new and replacement meters, in some cases, have taken months to install, leaving the customer or business simply without power,” Mr Treloar said.
“This is unacceptable by anyone’s standards.”
Although the reform process was neither initiated or overseen by the new Government, the State Energy Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan has been assisting concerns, by representations to energy retailers, providing information about how to approach the Energy and Water Ombudsman of SA, and working with the Essential Services Commission of South Australia (ESCOSA).
ESCOSA and EWOSA have written to energy retailers and SAPN to seek improved outcomes, resulting in an agreement to work together to improve service.
Federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg has proposed amendments to the national rules to define time lines for small customers receiving new meters, however the rule change process may take some time.
Consumers who are experiencing difficulties should approach the Energy and Water Ombudsman (1800 665 565) for assistance.