CHOICE membership

Do you have a smart meter and if so, have you accessed the data to save energy and money?


The expensive 5 kw solar system panels are not shaded. They are facing the north and east. I’m home a bit during the day. I do washing ironing and cool the house down using the air con which gets turned off about 5 pm. Yes the off peak water heats at night and is a low read. We havent got a smart meter. We turn things off when not using them According to powershop’s infomatic we use the electricity used by a family of 6+ and i just don’t know where it all goes. We got an environmental consultant in to try and wrangle the power bill down to something reasonable.and all the house lights were changed to LEDs, we got a new hot water cylinder, a new super efficient air con system and insulation put everywhere plus shade blinds installed. We live in the upper north shore of Sydney. When we go on holiday the house still chews through electricity!!!


Thank you for your reply. The solar system was installed about 2 years ago. I think the power it generates gets fed straight in at the ‘you have to be joking, surely’ feed in rate. I think this is the problem


Thank you. I will ring Roof juice again


Curious that. If your electrical panel has multiple breakers it might be worth analysing each circuit to see where the current is being used. There are numerous ways to do this depending on your box. My house has breakers for the oven, cooling, lights, appliances1, appliances2, powerpoints1, powerpoints2, and so on. You can turn all of them off with one on at a time to see which might be drawing current (turn off everything you can on the circuit first) by looking at your meter. You could get lucky and find one circuit has unexpected results.

Regardless, a sparky should have a clamp meter that can tell how much current is going down each circuit and should be able to give your house a going through to see if/what is amiss.

Knowing which circuit(s) are using power might help if your problem is not otherwise resolved. If you know the circuit, you can then investigate the devices on that circuit.

While it is the province of movies and TV is there any chance there is an unknown tap from your house to another?


The basic tariff I’m on now:

So it seems there is a peak/off-peak option …

… the buyback rate.

So just going by the smart meter details and the tariffs - on 4 Feb (last reading) I was 38$ in credit over the last 2 months, but if I’d been on the peak/off-peak I’d have been $54 in credit … maybe time for a change.


Yep, if you can run your loads mostly during the day and cover them with your PV output, then you could well be better off overall.

That’s a rather low fixed daily charge, around these parts I’m told it is over $1.50/day. Not that it bothers me, having been off-grid for over 26 years :slight_smile:


We have a business that has two smart meters. They measure the electricity that comes into our business. No solar panels. Just used as a metering device for charging for power use. In a nutshell these meters are set up by the supplier. They have the ability to have multiple settings which can be set to theoretically give the user a lower energy cost based on their owner’s use. I had an electrician explain to me that they should be set differently in my case. I am quite technical and have spoken to the supplier on two occasions. The person rattled off information so fast that I could not even write it all down let alone fully understand it. I think he mentioned that they would do one change then after that there would be a charge if it was changed again.
In other words the meters have been set up by the supplier with no discussion on my use so we assume they set it up to be of benefit to me. Secondly, to set them up more differently seems to be a nuisance to the supplier. I assume my smart meters which cost quite a bit are running no differently to my old analog meters.
The only access to the data that we have is what we see on our electricity account. I should mention that my electricity supplier now is different to the owner of the equipment which I assume makes this more difficult to access relevant information.
In summary these meters as far as I can tell are not being used to reduce my energy bills.


Same here. Powershop had a problem with readings for a while so I was doing it but all OK now.


That maybe something you can partially track down before you call an electrician as @TheBBG advised . But your meter may be faulty and in this case you need to contact you electricity supplier to get them to investigate, this may involve them fitting another meter to see if there is a difference in readings but before you contact them get an electrician (as advised by @TheBBG) to ensure everything else in your house is correct. You may also have some incorrectly wired circuits where an active and/or a neutral have been reversed and in this case you may have a power draw even with all items turned off.


IMHO that would be extremely unlikely. Putting a neutral cable into the active link and active into the neutral link (about the only way you could get a circuit as described) would be rather interesting, and not something a qualified electrician would do! Individual power points, yes, but not whole circuits, and mistakes like that are easily detected on inspection, if not beforehand, when the electrician would test the power points before inspection.

@Newcole99 - can you detail how much: [quote=“newcole99, post:11, topic:15081”]
our power usage is really high

this actually is, before and after PV system installation?


Mid 2017 we received an electricity bill that had us gasping for breath. We are on a 2-phase supply system. We also have 20 solar panels, batteries and a small (3.5kw) wind generator. We read about an energy monitoring trial for households that Origin Energy was about to conduct (under pressure from media and governments?) and asked to be a trial household. Because we have solar/wind we were rejected for the trial, however the CEO’s executive liaison manager arranged for our smart meter to be checked for faults for free - normally more than $600. The smart meter was working correctly. Unable to get any assistance with identifying why the bills are so huge, we now keep a daily diary of usage, then download our daily usage graph/report from the Origin website to try to identify which types of usage are eating up our electricity. The website graphs are not real-time, but even at two days old they have been useful in helping us to identify issues with appliance use/incorrect wiring and interface between the mains supply and wind/solar. Electricity bills still eye-watering but we are doing our own trials using the information and hoping to get some control over usage.


Had that one happen to us in Chelmer Brisbane. Turn a power point in one room and the other room would have power or one would work other wouldn’t. Took two inspections by electricians to find and fix it.


That sounds like they somehow had one power point active wired in series, whereas they should all be in parallel. I don’t see how that could happen with a regular power point, but with a separate socket and switch type it might be possible.
Must have been an apprentice on the job! :wink:


Hi Alison,

Another point we discovered when we built our new house is to double check your retailer actually knows you have solar operating! Because of a paperwork lapse by Essential Energy (our local pirates, I mean Distributor), our meter was getting read by the person ADDING TOGETHER the export and import readings, resulting in us being billed over $900 per quarter for 2 bills, and we have a 10kW system sitting on the roof powering away with 2 inverters lol. Many apologies (and credits) followed but you should always double check with your retailer, especially if your solar was installed after the house was built :).


If people who have smart meters are accessing their data

Yes, every day. We have an energy monitor in our kitchen. It’s a device that reads the data collected by the smart meter, and was supplied by Origin Energy a few years ago. In conjunction with tariff data downloaded through the smart meter it tells us how much electricity (kW) is being used now, and how much it costs, updated every 30s or so.

I also access my distributor’s (United Energy) online energy portal showing half-hourly meter data.

Occasionally I access the meter data through Origin Energy’s portal but this tends to be not as up to date as the distributor’s data.

How they are accessing it

See above.

If this is helping them save electricity and money. Anyone?

Yes, I can see relative levels of consumption from different devices - e.g our evaporative aircon uses comparatively little power (1-1.5kW) so I don’t worry about it too much on a hot day, whereas our 900mm oven uses 3.3kW so we’re careful not to leave it on unnecessarily. Also we have solar panels and the energy monitor displays our net generation or consumption, which might persuade me to run the washing machine during the middle of the day instead of the evening.


Many thanks. I will give the Powershop app a go. cheers, Petrina

Well - I did give it a go without finding the info I really wanted. There was a diagram with various colours indicating the best feed in times of day, but I still haven’t found anything a non-tech person like me can use. What I really want is a statement like: when there is over 900 W coming in, that’s the time to use your washing machine, dishwasher etc. The think on my phone didn’t give me that sort of information.


Hi pmslaytor,

the best monitor that I have found is Solar Analytics Monitoring system ( It does cost a bit, but I am really happy with it.

Below are a couple of screen dumps from the system for my place.

This one is actual consumption vs production for Tuesday, 13th Feb - shows that except for start and end of day, solar panels were producing more power that house was using.

This one shows various notifications that are automatically generated by the monitor.
For example, on 13th Feb, received notification

“Last week you purchased 9.37 kWh of power from the grid to run the air conditioner during the evenings. During the day, you exported 110.58 kWh of unused solar energy to the grid. To reduce your bills, consider making the most of your free solar energy by pre-heating or cooling your home during the day”.

Before I had been turning the air-con late in the afternoon when the house got a bit warm - now it is turned on mid afternoon to pre-cool the house (while the solar panels are producing enough power to run the air-con) and it seems to be working.

Also has a “live monitor” showing energy produced/used in last hour.

The monitor can be looked at on a pc, tablet or mobile.

As an aside, I was with Origin Elect and last few monthly bills were quite small - just transferred over the Pacific Hydro and got the 1st bill from them - $5.72 credit!!!

cheers Peter


Many thanks Peter. I have contacted Solar Analytics, so hope they can give me the info I need.


When i first got the smart meter i was hoping to save some money by finally having off peak times instead of it being daily.But found out that when this hit the market also pricing changed and worked out to about even in the end.Contacted them a few months later to see if anything had changed and it was still the same story.The idea might had been good at the time but never lived up to what i was hoping for

RF Radiation and cancer - smart meters, mobile phones and WiFI

Looked into getting interactive data from my smart meter as others have said they could. Below is what I found on the Origin Energy website.

To get up to two years information:
One site - 10 business days
More than one site - 20 business days

They may be smart meters, but the process to get information is dumb.