Picture of an electricity meter attached to the wall of a house.

Your Complete Guide to Electricity Meter Installation

Navigating the ins and outs of electricity meter installation can be a daunting task without a handy guide at your disposal.

Whether you’re building a new home, or replacing an old and possibly outdated meter on an established property, having the proper knowledge can make the process significantly easier.

Metropolitan Electrical Contractors’ detailed guide explores all the essential aspects of installing an electrical meter on your property. We’ll explore what an electricity meter is, why you might need to install one, and why you’ll need a licensed electrician to do the job.

What Does an Electricity Meter Do?

While it might seem like a simple and unassuming device, an electricity meter is essential in monitoring electricity usage. It records how much energy gets consumed by the occupants of your home, enabling your electricity retailer to accurately bill you for the power used.

We’ve seen electrical meters evolve significantly over the years. While traditional analog meters are still in use, digital smart meters are becoming increasingly popular.

Let’s take a quick look at the different electricity meter types, including those that we’ve used in the past and what will pave the way for the future.

What is an Accumulation Meter? 

Accumulation meters are an older type of electrical meter. They measure the total electricity consumption since their installation without recording when the electricity was used. Available in digital or analogue, accumulation meters require a meter reader to come by and take a meter reading.

What is an Interval Meter? 

Interval meters record how much electricity gets used in specific intervals, typically every 30 minutes. Though they provide a more detailed consumption pattern, there is the need for someone to manually read interval meters to document that energy consumption.

What is a Smart Meter? 

More and more homes across Australia are making the switch from accumulation meters and interval meters to digital smart meters. According to consumer watchdog Choice:

  • They’ve been compulsory in homes across Victoria since 2006.
  • Only 20-30% of homes in South Australia, New South Wales, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory have a smart meter.
  • Smart meter adoption in Tasmania is slightly higher.
  • A target set by the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) will see 100% of homes in these regions move to smart meter technology by 2030.
  • To reach that target, a ruling by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) now requires all new meter installations and replacements to be smart meters. In Western Australia and Northern Territory, regions that don’t come under the AER’s jurisdiction, their respective governments have their own initiatives in place to help move towards 100% take up.

These advanced new meters remotely read your energy consumption data. Like the traditional interval meter, they read your meter about every 30 minutes. However, the remote meter reading effectively does away both with the need for someone to take a reading from the meter box, and also with estimated bills.

They also contribute to efficient energy management by helping users understand and adjust their electricity use.

Reasons for Installing an Electricity Meter

There are various scenarios where you might need to install or replace an electricity meter.

  • If you’re building a new home, you’ll need a meter to track your electricity usage and ensure accurate billing.
  • You might need to replace an old or faulty meter that’s no longer reliable. Upgrading to a modern, digital meter can offer more accurate readings and additional features like real-time data.
  • Lastly, if you’re looking to harness solar power, you’ll need a special bi-directional meter that can measure power both ways – consumed and generated.

Whether it’s new construction, upgrading or replacing an outdated system, or simply making the switch to renewable energy, the right electrical meter is crucial to the effective management of your energy consumption.

Call an Electrician for Your Meter Installation

Put simply, you cannot install your own meter. Organising a licensed electrician to install your electricity meter is not merely a recommendation – it’s a legal requirement.

Australian regulations require you to first organise the installation through your power company. Once arranged, you can then book an experienced electrical contractor to install on the retailer’s behalf. They will not only install the correct meter but also ensure it gets safely connected to your electrical system.

An electrician can also troubleshoot potential issues, reducing the risk of future malfunctions.

Licensed electricians also have detailed knowledge of local building codes. They also adhere to the necessary approval procedures to ensure that your installation complies with all regulations. Ultimately, an electrician provides the expertise and peace of mind necessary for a successful electricity meter installation.

Picture of an electricity meter.

The Process of Installing Smart Meters

The process of organising electrical meter installation or replacement is generally as follows:

  1. Request an electric meter installation or replacement through your energy provider. They will process your request and, if approved, either give you the option to use one of their preferred electricians or one of your own choosing.
  2. Arrange an installation date: After finding a licensed electrician, set up an appointment.
  3. Preparation: The electrician will disconnect your power supply during the installation. It’s a good idea to plan accordingly for this temporary power outage.
  4. Installation: The electrician will then install the meter and reconnect your power.
  5. Verification and activation: Your energy provider will verify the installation and activate your meter.

Metropolitan Electrical Contractors offer a wealth of installation and replacement experience, and can help you get set up with a new smart digital electricity meter.

Maintenance and Troubleshooting of Electricity Meters

Maintenance of electricity meters is generally the responsibility of energy retailers. However, it’s always beneficial to understand some common issues you might face:

  • Inaccurate readings: If you think your meter isn’t providing an accurate reading of how much electricity you’ve used, you can request a meter test from your energy provider.
  • Digital display issues: If you go to read your meter and find the digital display is faulty or blank, contact your energy provider for a replacement.
  • Faulty dial meters: Old dial electricity meters can become stuck or run backward. If you notice these issues, notify your energy provider.

It’s important to note that any suspected tampering with your meter is considered illegal in Australia.

Wrapping Up …

Understanding what goes into a new installation of a smart meter, or replacement of old interval meters, can make the whole process significantly easier. Remember to always consult a licensed electrician and coordinate with your energy provider for seamless installation. By staying informed, you can make the switch to a new or upgraded model effortlessly.

Choosing the right electricity meter is instrumental in accurate electricity billing, monitoring your energy usage, and contributing to Australia’s renewable energy sector. Armed with this knowledge, you’re now ready to make informed decisions and pave the way for a more energy-efficient future. Enjoy the journey!

Please note: This information is provided for advice purposes only. Regulations differ from state to state, so please consult your local authorities or an industry professional before proceeding with any work. See our Terms & Conditions here.

Published: 2023-06-23

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