Take control and uncover potential savings on your metering
If you’re a large electricity customer in NSW, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania or you can appoint a Metering Coordinator of your choice, letting you select a provider that is cost-effective and offers the best service for your business.
Your Metering Coordinator is independent of your energy retailer and the network distributor and has overall responsibility for appointing metering service providers and making sure that metering installations are provided, installed and maintained in accordance with the National Electricity Rules.
Choosing the right Metering Coordinator and understanding the potential benefits and risks of direct appointment can be time-consuming; this article helps by highlighting the some of the issues you should consider.
Who can appoint a Metering Coordinator?
Under the National Electricity Rules, retailers are generally responsible for appointment of Metering Coordinators, however large customers* are also permitted to directly appoint a Metering Coordinator.
If you have smaller sites, you may be able to negotiate with your retailer for appointment of your preferred Metering Coordinator.
Talk to your energy retailer, broker or energy consultant about your eligibility to access a DMA.
What is a DMA?
A Direct Metering Agreement (DMA) is a contract for metering services between a Metering Coordinator and an end use customer. The roles typically covered under a DMA are the Metering Coordinator, Meter Provider and Meter Data Provider. In most cases, one metering service provider performs all three roles. A full list of registered metering service providers can be found on the Australian Electricity Market Operator (AEMO) website.
What are the benefits of a DMA?
Under a DMA, you can negotiate your contract length and, should you sign a longer-term contract, you may achieve a reduced annual rate for your metering services.
A longer contract period for your DMA also means that your business is less likely to experience the inconvenience of metering churn. If you switch energy retailers without a DMA in place, your new retailer can appoint their preferred Metering Coordinator, and this may require the replacement of your meter(s).
Another reason customers choose a DMA is to access the value-added services offered by the Metering Coordinator. Many of these services benefit customers by delivering next day access to their consumption data, as well as enhanced data analysis.
Depending on your Metering Coordinator, services may include:
- an online portal to help you monitor and manage your consumption;
- access to your power quality data on a 5-minute basis to quickly identify equipment failures;
- hard-wired Modbus and pulse output connections linked to your existing systems for real-time electricity consumption data so you can monitor, control and report on your usage; and
- sophisticated energy management software for greater analysis and insights.
What roles do the Metering Provider and Metering Data Provider perform?
The roles typically covered under a DMA include your Metering Coordinator, as described earlier, and your Meter Provider and Meter Data Provider. Although the roles differ, they may be performed by the same company, provided it is registered to perform each role.
Meter Provider (MPB): A Meter Provider is appointed by a Metering Coordinator for installation of market compliant meters, commissioning and maintenance.
Meter Data Provider (MDP): An MDP is appointed by a Metering Coordinator and provides metering data services such as data warehousing, validation and data delivery to the electricity market.
What should I consider when choosing a Metering Coordinator?
There are a few things to weigh up when choosing the right Metering Coordinator for your business. These include:
- Price: Can you get a better deal on your annual rate for metering services? This is an important selection criteria, however, customers should also consider services and inclusions when choosing the right provider for them.
- Services: Beyond those services required under regulations, find out what additional services the Metering Coordinator can offer, such as meter installation charges, current transformer (CT) testing, additions/alterations to connection points, programming for solar, data forwarding and greenfield installations. You may find a provider’s service offering swings your vote.
- Inclusions: Finally, uncover what is included and excluded from your base service charge. Ask if the above listed services are included in this charge or if they’re an add-on. And find out if they include an online portal for your energy data to give you easy access and better insights into your energy usage.
Ask your prospective Metering Coordinator what additional services they can deliver for your business through a DMA.
How will metering charges be billed?
Unless you pay your Metering Coordinator directly, your DMA metering charges will be charged by your retailer and included as a line item on your retail energy bill. The only change you will notice is the rate and total charged, which will now reflect your DMA charges rather than the rate charged by your retailer. Depending on the terms of your DMA, your Metering Coordinator may also bill you some charges directly.
What other things should be considered?
- Term: It’s important to keep track of your DMA end date. If your current DMA expires and you haven’t negotiated a new DMA, your business will still continue to receive the required metering services, however, you may revert back to your energy retailer’s default rate for metering. Depending on your retailer, there may also be other consequences, such as a new Metering Coordinator being appointed by your retailer and an associated meter change.
- Termination charges: There may be termination charges or other fees payable if you change Metering Coordinator, either under your retail electricity contract or an existing DMA. Always check the terms of your retail electricity contract and contact your retailer to find out if any charges apply. If you have a DMA, you should refer to your contract and contact your Metering Coordinator. If you have a broker or energy consultant, they will be able to assist with this process.
- Meter change: If you change Metering Coordinators, your meter(s) will usually need to be exchanged and this may involve an interruption to electricity supply. The existing metering provider generally owns the meter that is currently installed, and they are responsible for the maintenance of the meter. The new metering provider will install a meter. Arrangements may be made by negotiation with your Metering Coordinator for third party meter arrangements in some circumstances.
Find out more
One of our Account Managers, a broker or energy consultant can help you understand metering requirements for your business and step you through the process for choosing a metering provider. Contact your Account Manager directly or call 13 23 76.
* As specified in the electricity legislation for the relevant jurisdiction.