[LINK] another fail IT-type project

Jan Whitaker jwhit at janwhitaker.com
Sun May 23 08:27:31 AEST 2010

This is another Victorian stuff-up. The smart meter project was 
supposed to provide more information to customers so they could 
better use power. BUT what they didn't tell anyone was that to 
actually get the information to make those decisions, the customer 
would have to buy an additional device! Just another example of a 
poorly designed project by a stupid minister who was sold a bill of 
goods by industry to reduce their own costs AND charge customers for 
the savings with NO benefit to those who are paying for it -- a 
double whammy. Oh, and we're having to pay for the "stupid" meters in 
advance when the program may even be cancelled at some stage. Dumb dumb dumb.

New smart meters not so smart



May 23, 2010

VICTORIA'S power companies have warned customers that the $1.6 
billion energy smart-meter project will form only the ''foundations'' 
of a new era of electricity services.

The companies - which have so far installed 100,000 meters in 
Victorian homes - have gone on the attack amid continuing criticism 
of the meters' introduction.

Energy Minister Peter Batchelor last week confirmed the project's 
budget had blown out by $500 million.

As talkback callers complained about their new meters, the Energy 
Networks Association said the criticism overlooked the size and 
complexity of the energy and environmental issues society faces.

''Installing and operating [smart meters] is a job which takes time, 
money, education and behaviour changes,'' said the association's 
chairman, Shane Breheny.

An emerging criticism of the project is that the meters provide 
little information to customers. Customers seeking information on 
their use, and on peak and off-peak charges, will need to buy an 
in-home display that could cost hundreds of dollars.

Already, Victorians are paying an extra $68 on their power bills this 
year for the rollout. Next year that cost will rise to $76.

But CitiPower and Powercor - responsible for the smart meter 
installation in 40 per cent of Victorian homes - said customers 
should see the meter as the ''foundations, rather than the building''.

Spokesman Hugo Armstrong said although the meter told customers 
little information, it enabled extra functions that would help 
households better manage their power use.

He said the meters, which send half-hourly data to power companies, 
would enable home area networks - where, for example, appliances can 
be remotely turned on and off - internet access to energy-use data 
(this will be at least 24 hours old) and varied tariffs during the day.

The opposition has dubbed the project the ''myki of metering'', while 
the Alternative Technology Association has said the project seems to 
be benefiting the power companies more than consumers.

Because the meters communicate with the power companies, the 
utilities no longer have to send people to read meters or connect and 
disconnect homes. As yet, it is unclear how those savings will flow 
through to consumers.

Mr Batchelor has suspended the introduction of time-of-use tariffs 
after a University of Melbourne report found the pricing change is 
likely to unfairly impact people who use more power during the day, 
including pensioners, stay-at-home parents, the sick, disabled and carers.

Mr Batchelor said in-home displays were not mandated because it would 
have increased significantly costs to households.

''We are working with industry on developing alternative options, 
such as web portals or mobile phone applications that will allow 
people to use their smart meter to monitor their energy use,'' he said.

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
jwhit at janwhitaker.com
blog: http://janwhitaker.com/jansblog/
business: http://www.janwhitaker.com

Our truest response to the irrationality of the world is to paint or 
sing or write, for only in such response do we find truth.
~Madeline L'Engle, writer

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