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New meter laws driving up power costs, causing delays and inflicting financial chaos

Master Electricians Australia (MEA) has slammed new electrical meters laws that are driving up power and installation costs, causing mass delays to customers and inflicting financial chaos in the electrical industry.

On December 1 last year new metering rules, known as Power of Choice, came into effect that saw the responsibility for electrical meters shift to retailers.

Yesterday the Queensland Competition Authority’s (QCA) draft determination on regional power prices revealed that the new smart meter laws will slug households an extra $100 a year on their electricity bills.

However, MEA CEO Malcolm Richards said that the increased power costs to consumers is just the latest issue to arise since the transition to the new rules.

“The QCA has revealed that ordinary Queenslanders will be slugged with an extra $100-a-year on their power bills, but this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the issues that have plagued the industry since these new laws came into operation three months ago,” Mr Richards said.

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

“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 supported the shift in metering 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 now installed by a contractor nominated by the retailer, but Mr Richards said the on-site contractor could do this immediately and at little or no cost.

“There is a significant installation cost being imposed that was not present before the new rules and it’s being caused by the consumer 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.

Mr Richards called on the Federal Minister for Energy Josh Frydenberg to conduct an immediate review into the new rules.

“The new Power of Choice rules are administered by the federal government and as such MEA calls on Minister Frydenberg to conduct an urgent review into these new rules and the detrimental impact they are having on the industry,” Mr Richards said.


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

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