In Queensland and Tasmania (have experience installing in both states), the distribution network provider owns the meter…usually the installer makes the request for new meter if existing meter doesn’t measure export. Retailers only have to change tarriffs (if solar install triggers a change) and set billing system to handle automatic migration of metering data for billing. The later is what I am waiting for and chasing up our retailer so that our new install in Tasmania can go live (existing meters can do export and the network operator changed firmware to log exports).
I am not sure situation in other states. Possibly others can comment.
Edit: Looking at the Origin website, it appears only NSW/ACT has the option for a customer to request a meter change through the retailer…but the retailer request meter then goes to the distribution network operaror for a meter change. In Qld, Vic and SA, all requests must be instigated through the distribution network operator.
I think this falls into conspiracy theories.
Metering change requests come from installers…often after install or after engagement of an install company and deposit paid. There is no opportunity to steal unless a customer (where PV is installed) breaks a contract and looses the deposit. It seems very far fetched and possibly an internet myth.