Smart electricity meters: How households and the environment can benefit

03 June 2009

From the Commissioner's Overview

New Zealand appears to be unusual in the developed world in that the roll-out of smart meters is being undertaken by the market, with no government control. In this report, I recommend that the Government takes a more hands-on approach to the roll-out of smart meters. The competitive challenges of our electricity market go beyond the supply-side oligopoly. One of the requirements for a well functioning market is that consumers are empowered to make fully informed decisions, and smart meters will greatly assist this.

In the longer term, the innovation that could come from really smart meters – in conjunction with a smart grid – is exciting. Imagine using the batteries in a fleet of electric vehicles as storage for our electricity system. An electric car could ‘talk’ to the retailer via smart communications, automatically ensuring that its battery is charged when electricity is cheapest or the electricity network is least congested.

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