Australian smart meters help houses enjoy sunny days

  • June 1, 2021
  • Steve Rogerson

Australian electricity distributor Endeavour Energy and smart metering company Intellihub have launched a programme to let houses use solar power to heat water for later in the day.

The goal is to change the way off-peak electricity systems operate.

Partnering with ten energy retailers, the two companies have installed smart meters at 2500 homes across Albion Park in New South Wales (NSW), delivering environmental and customer benefits.

Endeavour Energy’s CEO Guy Chalkley said the programme, called Off Peak Plus, would improve network performance, help save customers money and speed the transition to a low carbon future.

“Endeavour Energy initiated this programme to solve the problem of replacing and upsizing a 50-year-old, off-peak control system in its nearby substation,” he said. “By using advanced smart meters, instead of investing in expensive old technology at the substation, Endeavour Energy can save real dollars and cents for our customers by finding ways to help them capture more affordable solar energy.”

This should also let the company access energy and power quality data through the smart meter to help better respond to issues and outages, particularly during storms, giving users even safer and more reliable energy.

“The installed meters can dynamically control hot water systems, allowing them to be switched on during the day when surplus power is being generated from household solar systems, helping lower customers’ electricity bills,” he said.

NSW energy minister Matt Kean said with almost a quarter of all homes now using solar, Off Peak Plus would give users more control over their electricity use and enable excess solar power generated locally to be used by neighbours to heat their hot water systems.

“Nowhere else in Australia are we seeing this level of collaboration and innovation within the electricity sector to produce community wide benefits,” Kean said. “This state-of-the-art programme has found a way to manage peak energy demand, helping to future proof the grid with even more home solar systems.”

The smart meters will also detect safety issues with a user’s installation, and help detect network issues and outages, particularly during storms and incidents.

The programme is managed by Intellihub, an Australian metering provider specialising in products that enhance grid visibility and data insight.

“It’s an innovative project, not just because of the technology, but how it’s being used to benefit customers, the environment and industry all at once,” Intellihub CEO Adrian Clark said. “Endeavour Energy is showing the industry how to work together and share the benefits of technology and collaboration.”