ACT News


Digital meter not falsifying power bills, tribunal finds

A Canberra woman who feared her new digital meter may have been hacked to push up her electricity bill has lost a fight to force ActewAGL to return her service to an outdated, 40-year-old model.

ActewAGL installed a new meter at the woman's home in November 2012, despite her asking the company to let her keep her old analogue meter.

The company had to install the newer technology because of legal requirements arising from a decision by the ACT's Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission.

Once it was installed, the woman became concerned about the meter's accuracy. She noticed significant increases in her electricity bills, which she thought did not match any change in usage.

The resident took her complaint to the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal, seeking to have ActewAGL remove the new meter and replace it with the older model.

She contended the company had broken its contract with her. The tribunal dismissed her complaint, finding there was no risk whatsoever of being hacked and manipulated, unless someone went to her home and broke a seal on the meter.


In fact, the meter had no communication capacity, and was without

anything that allowed for remote communication.

The tribunal compared it to a digital watch, and stated it needed to be read manually.

It also found the meter she had installed at her home was a digital interval meter, not the smart meter, which the woman believed had been installed.

The tribunal found interval meters to be generally more accurate than older models, particularly the one previously in use at the woman's home, which is 40 years old.

The tribunal dismissed her concerns, saying there was no basis to find the meter was inaccurate or not secure.

It did, however, point out that her complaint partly arose because she was confused about the capacities of her new meter.

''If more accurate information was provided to consumers who have these meters installed, potential concerns about the new meters might be avoided,'' the Civil and Administrative Tribunal wrote.