AGL Digital / Smart Meters Lock You In!

AGL, our current electricity provider, recently updated us to a digital or “smart” meter. The specific model that they installed is an EDMI Atlas Mk10D.

EDMI Atlas Mk10D

Digital Smart Meter CompatibilityWhen we had the meter installed by AGL we were informed that we could opt out from the new meter. We decided to go ahead with it because it would allow us more detail of our energy usage. We also thought that we could change to any other provider we wanted to down the track, since on AGL’s own web site it states, “Yes, the digital meter is compatible with all energy retailers.”.

The screen shot on the right is from their web-site, where it is very clearly stated that it is compatible.

Well, guess what, it’s not!

With AGL’s recent price rise of 12% over last year’s prices (State’s largest energy retailer, AGL, set to hike electricity bill prices) we decided to shop around for a new retailer. We should be able to after all, since according to AGL the meter is compatible will all retailers.

After applying to Simply Energy for a new deal we received an interesting letter back from them:

Thank you for choosing Simply Energy. Unfortunately we are unable to complete your transfer of Electricity to us at this time.

You are not eligible to accept our Electricity supply offer as we cannot supply your meter type. We have terminated this agreement in accordance with the terms and conditions of the offer. This means that your Electricity will continue to be supplied by your current retailer.

Wait, what?

At first I thought that maybe Simply Energy was just behind the times, but after contacting SA Power Networks I was informed that there are other retailers in South Australia that do not support that meter. This goes directly against what AGL says on their own web-site.

Needless to say, I will be following up with AGL about this, I am frustrated, to say the least …

(Update)

On the AGL Facebook page they have pretty much admitted that it is not compatible with all energy retailers, this is what they originally said to our question:

We have been advised that some smaller retailers do not have the systems capable in order to accept customers with active stream digital meters, however, most retailers, especially the larger ones, should have no issue in accepting customers with these meters. In time, all retailers should have the internal systems capable of accepting customers with these types of meters.

So although in time it will be compatible with all retailers, it is not currently possible to transfer to any retailer in South Australia.

They edited their post slightly after originally posting it to say:

Active Stream digital meters have the ability to be compatible with all retailers. We are aware of a select few smaller retailers who currently do not have the systems in place to be able to process the data of customers with these types of meters, however almost all retailers definitely have the capacity to do this. In the very near future all retailers will have the ability to accept customers with an Active Stream meter.

So still, they have the ability to be compatible, but aren’t currently. Going against what they say on their own web-site…

Checking with the Australia Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) the define illegal claims as:

It is illegal for a business to make statements that are incorrect or likely to create a false impression. This includes advertisements or statements in any media (print, radio, television, social media and online) or on product packaging, and any statement made by a person representing your business.

For example, your business must not make false or misleading claims about the quality, value, price, age or benefits of goods or services, or any associated guarantee or warranty. Using false testimonials or ‘passing off’ (impersonating another business) is also illegal.

When assessing whether conduct is likely to mislead or deceive, consider whether the overall impression created by the conduct is false or inaccurate.

2 thoughts on “AGL Digital / Smart Meters Lock You In!

  1. Todd

    Hi Bill, is this the bi-directional or import/export meter that you had installed when you had the Solar PV system done a few years ago? We had SA Power Networks install ours just prior to having our solar panels installed. Whilst I’ve never actually checked, I’d be very surprised if it prevented us from changing energy retailers. It seems extremely dodgy that AGL have installed this meter but it essentially means you’re now locked-in with them as it’s incompatible with most (or all) other energy companies.

  2. Bill Hutchison Post author

    We had the import/export meter installed when we got solar as well, wish we had kept it, but we were given false information about the new meter. This is AGL’s fancy new “smart” digital meter. Despite AGL’s web-site saying that all retailers support it, that is not true …

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