In 2009, Victoria began replacing its old electricity meters with smart meters.
With Victoria's old electricity meters, a meter reader would visit your house every few months to record the total amount of electricity shown your meter. This reading was then compared to your previous reading to work out how much electricity you had used over the billing period.
Smart meters are different. Smart meters measure how much electricity you use every half an hour. Smart meters record this information and send it automatically to your electricity distributor (the company that owns and operated the meter) every few hours.
New tools for understanding and managing electricity use
There are several tools, such as 'in-home displays' (IHDs) and 'energy web portals', which link up with your smart meter to help you understand and manage your electricity use. With these tools you no longer need to wait for your bill to get information on your energy use.
In-home displays' (IHDs)
IHDs are small, portable devices that show how much electricity is being used in real time. This information can help you to understand how and when you use electricity and reduce your costs. A 2011 report for the Department of Primary Industries found that, on average, IHDs helped households reduce their energy consumption by 7.9%.
The Victorian Government's Energy Saver Incentive offers discounted IHDs. Click here for a list of participating IHD installers.
Energy web portals
Many energy retailers (the company that sends your bill) and distributors (the company that owns and manages your smart meter) have energy web portals where you can go online to get information about your electricity use, as recorded by your smart meter. Energy web portals show similar information to IHDs but are usually updated every few hours (when the smart meter automatically sends the data). Energy web portals are free to use - you just need a computer and will need to register when you first use them.
Click here for a list of companies with web portals.