MEA welcomes crack-down on meter delays, but more needed to stop business casualties

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22 February 2018

Master Electricians Australia (MEA) has welcomed moves by the federal government to crack-down on delays to electricity meter installations, however warned that without further changes there will be major business casualties.

Federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg has confirmed that a rule change request has been submitted to the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) to implement maximum timeframes for meter installations.

This follows the introduction of new rules for metering called ‘Power of Choice’ which has seen the responsibility for electrical meters shift to retailers, resulting in delays of 5 days for new connections and more than 2 weeks for additional installations.

MEA CEO Malcom Richards said that while he welcomed the announcement, further changes to the new rules are needed to prevent financial chaos for the industry.

“The transition to the new system has resulted in delays of over a month in many jobs and this is causing substantial financial loss and fracturing the relationships between builders and customers,” Mr Richards said.

“MEA welcomes the announcement by the Minister, but we would also like to see an immediate review of the new rules otherwise there will be financial chaos throughout the industry.

“The cost to the industry since the introduction of these rules has blown out into the millions and unless the new rules are ripped up and re-written we will see major business casualties.

“MEA supports the shift in responsibility to retailers, however any improvements gained by contestable metering is currently being drowned out by the bureaucratic red tape in place.

Under the new rules, electrical meters are being installed by a contractor nominated by the retailer, but Mr Richards said the on-site contractor could do this immediately and at little or not cost.

“There is a significant added cost imposed on the consumer in having to pay for a separate electrical contractor to install the meter,” Mr Richards said.

“This extra cost serves no purpose other than to further drive up the cost of purchasing a house and demonstrates the unnecessary red-tape that is present in the current process.

“MEA thanks Minister Frydenberg for his intervention but more is needed to stop the pain that Power of Choice is causing the industry.”

[ENDS]

Malcolm Richards is available for interview. Please phone The SAS Group on 07 3221 9222 or 0467 792 013.

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