PV/Solar Smart Metering - Installation Costs and Reporting Options?

If you have installed PV/Solar Power Generation at home, I’d be interested in knowing how ‘Solar Friendly’ your power company is.

  • What was the cost to you to have a Smart Meter installed?

  • What lead time was involved in getting it installed?

  • What access (type/frequency) are you given to your consumption/generation data other than your regular statement?

  • Is there a cost to you for access to consumption/generation data?

  • How easy is it to access your consumption/generation data and in what form?

For my recent install, the answers were $564 to install, 2-3 weeks, 15m or 30m intervals, yes 169$/yr, don’t know - won’t be paying. I’ve heard various stories about installation costs (or not) and data access, but I’d be keen to hear some first hand experiences. For my needs, I’ll probably just install another EDMI Atlas Mk7c meter and query it myself for the data I want - my solar inverter gives me more data than I need using some code I snaffled and the modbus protocol (over wireless) - I believe the meters can do the same/similar thing … My main motivation is to ensure the power company metering is accurate (or at least that I agree with it :slight_smile: ) and early detection of any issues with my PV infrastructure …


I don’t have Solar installed (soon hope to). My Brother in Law however does. His 5 Kw PV system sends data regularly to the provider of the panels and this data is also available to my Bro in Law via an icon on his computer that was installed as part of the installation process (has also been copied to his wife’s computer). It lists current generation, Daily generation, Weekly, Monthly, Yearly and Lifetime among a lot of other data including each panel’s performance and errors/warnings.

I can’t answer as to his Energy Company’s details but he uses the Panel data to check the accuracy of his meter readings.


Cost nothing to install smart meter.

Lead time was about a 4-6 weeks after the PV install.

Not aware I can access anything from smart meter. I download data from the Sunnyboy inverter via Bluetooth.

Not as easy to access and collect as I’d like.

I’d like something that alerts me if the system is out of spec (even compared to what we should be producing based on the weather), or has a problem. But I want to do it via my home wi-fi network, not through the 3G/4G network.


I’d imagine it should be possible to get something out of the smart meter - on mine I can hit a button and it will display kWh used and kWh generated - identified as 003 and 023 respectively - and a couple of others that I think might be usage during peak and during off-peak - but of course you need to know the codes.

My Sunnyboy is a later model with UTP and Wireless, so it connects to my home WiFi and talks to the Sunny Portal, or I can just log into the inverter, but being a Javafied mess of text an graphics ith some serious bugs that make it problematic to scrape, it was much easier to get in with the installer code and enable modbus so I can query it from a python script every few seconds and make my own fancy graphs and alerts and extensive details not available via the web interface. Not being particularly fluent in python, I’ve found a perl module that will do similar that I’m working on getting going. This month, nearly 600 kWh so far, way more than I’ve used - and since we have parity in cost that means a credit power bill hopefully :slight_smile:

Exactly. Mine will send me email on major problems, but if generation is affected by bad panels/whatever with no actual hard fault, I’d like to know then as well …


We’re with PowerShop (in NSW).

  • Nil cost to have the Smart Meter installed
  • Lead time was around three months, from memory
  • Real time access (data is updated daily) is possible via the PS website, and via their smartphone app. Consumption and solar export are shown in 30 minute blocks
  • There is no cost for access to consumption data. If I want generation data, I look at our Fronius inverter
  • I find it very easy to access the data on the website. Everything is displayed graphically, and you can see data over an entire year, and drill down to an individual month, week, or day. There is an option to download the raw data if you wish to import it into eg a spreadsheet

Hi draughtrider,
I had no choice about having a smart meter installed. Whilst I didn’t have to pay for it at the time, I think it would be foolish to believe I wasn’t paying for it indirectly in my bills.

I was never given a manual for accessing data and have been unable to find one on-line. This makes it hard to understand what I’m looking at. I can only access what a tech showed me, and this was specifically related to voltage. Interestingly, when I rang AusNet about my constant problems, they all but called me a liar and told me that I couldn’t possibly know what I was quoting, insisting I would need to get an electrician. I wondered if they were merely ignorant or they didn’t want it known that consumers could access such information. After all, they didn’t give me a manual, or make it easy to access one. They also denied that they could read certain information remotely, though techs were adamant that they could.

I now have a wi-fi dongle on my inverter, connected to my computer, that gives me detailed info on my solar generation. It also alerts me to times the inverter tripped due to over-voltage issues. The solar installer supplied this free.

My energy retailer, allows me to view my daily usage. For many months now, they have had a note saying that soon I will also be able to see how much solar I have returned to the grid. There is no charge for this and I can access it any time, though it is a couple of days behind.

What I haven’t figured out, is how to equate these two sources of information to do my checks and balances for my bill.

And to complete an earlier post on Ausnet: After first complaining in May 2017 about the fact that the voltage to my house was over the maximum limit, (therefore tripping my solar inverter up to 10 times a day) a new transformer was finally installed in November. My solar, at last, is working properly.


Still chasing a Smart Meter as Origin/Essential didn’t supply one when house was completed last year. As contract with Origin is now up am currently in process of sourcing new retailer - not as easy as it should be in a regional area I have found! We get our generation info through an app by SolarEdge that not only monitors what the 2 inverters are doing, but also gives a graphical readout of the individual panels on the roof and what each is generating. Helps to monitor if one is having a fault or needs a clean, as the generation on the graphic is colour coded (i.e if a section of a panel is not generating, that part of the panel will be dark).
Once we get our hands on a Smart Meter I’ll pass on the info. Might even go out and fry some eggs & bacon one morning using the radiation I’ve read about in some of the posts here lately :stuck_out_tongue:


It appears to me from reading the comments above that there is an expectation of being able to access the data directly from smart meters? Smart meters are there for the benefit of the electricity retailer so they record the electricity consumption of each consumer; smart meters’ are not the property of the consumer. As far as I am aware, there is no way a consumer can access the data from the meter, to do so would create security issues.
It is possible to read the instantaneous information on the meter, there will be some sort of button that will allow you to scroll through various bits of information. But some of this information may need a guide to understand what is being displayed - there may be a code number?

However, it is possible to access the data from most retailers on your account site. You can download as much data as you want. This will require some data file skills as the information is in the form of numbers. Anyone who can use something like Microsoft Excel should be able to manipulate the data into a proper order then create a graph (graphs allow an easy way of seeing what is happening, especially trends). This information is historical and does not give you any indication of what is currently happening.


Hi ‘obbigttam’
I fear you have a misconception of what a “smart meter” is? You say you did not have one fitted to your new house finished ‘last year’ - I very much doubt that as no one fits analogue meters for many years! As far as I am aware meters are installed by the network provider rather than the retailer and it is installed as part of the electrical installation and inspection. But this may vary by States, I am only familiar with NSW and ACT.
If you have an electricity meter that has a wheel which spins around when you are using electricity and lots of dials to show consumption -that is not a ‘smart meter’ it is analogue! If you have a meter with a digital display, you do have a ‘smart meter’. They vary in how smart they are, but they are still ‘smart’! One way of definitely determining whether you have a smart meter is to look at you electricity account. If you have a number of lines showing “peak”, “shoulder” and "off-peak"readings and cost (time of use),then you have a smart meter!

One indication you do have a smart meter is that you have solar panels. While technically you could have an analogue meter with solar it is improbable! If you did actually have analogue metering you would have a number of meters, any least one for power consumption (three if you have 3-phjase) and one for solar generation (power in and power out). Smart meters do this in one package, as well as record time of use over multiple phases.


Hi ‘allandorrington’
I fear you have a misconception regarding my post, as well as what meters are/are not available for solar installations on houses, even those such as mine that were completed ‘last year’. You can doubt all you want but despite what you say, just because a meter is not analogue does not make it smart. My Seiko watch from the 1970’s has digital numbers that look the same as the digital numbers on my watch from 2014 - however I can assure you that even though neither watch is analogue, I would not consider my Seiko watch a ‘smart’ watch :wink:

The only rule that was in place when my house was completed ‘last year’ was that the meter could not be analogue - it had to be a digital interval meter and it must be a net meter due to the solar. As such Essential Energy provided our sparky with a basic net interval meter - not what I consider to be a smart meter. In fact if our house was being built post December 2017 it is the retailer not the wholesaler who would be providing the meter as part of providing metering services through the new type of Registered Participant in the market - the “Metering Coordinator”. Anyone can become a Metering Coordinator as long as they satisfy registration requirements, but you’d have to ask AEMC what those requirements are. Retailers have to appoint this person for you unless you’ve appointed one yourself - you have the right to now.

A gross interval meter will send all your solar to the grid and a net interval meter will allow you to use your own solar and send the excess to the grid, apart from this gross and net meters are basically the same. An interval meter will measure your solar production and will measure the power you import from the grid, and will do this roughly every half hour. Interval meters allow you to access that information whichever way you choose - be that from the meter directly, a portal on your retailer’s/wholesaler’s website and coming soon to an app near you. Interval meters also give you access to billing options like TOU (Time Of Use) and single meter Controlled Load usage. Having 3 phase means that Controlled Load would be an option if I lived in an area where the wholesaler was not a Privateer lol. As it stands though having one phase dedicated to controlled load (or installing another meter) is not worth it financially. “Yarrrrr me hearties…we be giving you the power you need, but are ye willing to pay the price!” The difference between a basic digital interval meter and a smart digital interval meter is what happens next.

Whilst both types of interval meter allow you more choice when it comes to billing options, when you get access to that data is integral in you being able to save money. TOU billing is only worthwhile if you can make meaningful & timely changes to your power usage, which means getting information regularly to monitor what’s going on. Getting that every quarter (or longer) with a basic interval meter is close to useless for meaningful change. Having solar does not mean you automatically save money on your power, neither does having a battery. Having solar does mean that the power I use is a little greener than some, whether that be by using it myself or exporting it to offset the power I import.

To take full advantage of having solar and a battery I need a ‘smart’ meter. The interval meter that was installed when the house was built gathered the information, but that information could only be easily accessed every quarter - and only then if one of Essential’s readers could be bothered opening the meter box to actually read the meter lol. I’ve been seriously amazed how big a problem “Estimated” reads are in regional areas like Tamworth. I could understand it if you’re on a large property and the meter is hard to get to, but on a suburban street in a town as as large as Tamworth? Avast ye Essential me privateers - the meters here aren’t on the poop deck or crow’s nest ya know!

Having a ‘smart’ interval meter means that I can see the information on a web portal each day not every 3 months (or longer with “estimated” metering) as well as when I do my own meter checks. I use that information combined with the data I get from the app provided with my inverters, and data from both the app supplied with the Tesla and from logging in through the IP address when testing appliances. That means that my household can adjust usage often to better fit solar generation times which is the only real way to save money with solar. It also means that as the new energy market system is rolled out that we will have the option to sell our solar direct to other consumers at a fair price rather than the local privateer for peanuts.

A couple of quick notes to finish this epic lol. TOU billing is not an automatic saving for everyone - you should sit down and analyse when you use power to see if it’s suitable for you whether you have solar or not. It’s quite possible that if you’re a shift worker you could save a motza on your power with TOU billing.
Another point involves the installation of smart interval meters. If you live in an area that has poor communications network coverage (or where your meter will be installed has), then there is no real benefit between having a basic or smart interval meter for you - you will be relying on manual reads of your meter anyway. Just be sure if you have/are installing solar that it’s a net interval meter not a gross one so you can use your own power - the days of high FIT’s are over. Yes even for those of you locked into high FIT’s from the past the writing is on the wall lol.

TL:DR - Not all digital meters are Smart lol.

From the Australian Energy Regulator is this advice
"What is a smart meter?

A smart meter (also known as an advanced meter or ‘type 4’ meter) is a device that digitally measures your energy use. A smart meter measures when and how much electricity is used at your premises. It sends this information back to your energy retailer remotely, without your meter needing to be manually read by a meter reader.

Smart meters can also do other things remotely, like allow the electricity supply to be remotely switched on and off without the need for a field technician, measure the power quality at your premises and notify your electricity distributor when the power goes out."

So it appears under that statement that your meter they would consider is a “Smart Meter” as it digitally measures your energy usage, but of course it may not be as smart as other types available.

More about them can be read at:


Hi obbigttam
This is the definition of a “smart meter” from the Australian Energy Regulator: “A smart meter … is a device that digitally measures your energy use. A smart meter measures when and how much electricity is used at your premises_. It sends this information back to your energy retailer remotely_, without your meter needing to be manually read by a meter reader.” (my italics)
Therefore, what you have is a “smart meter”, that it does not allow you access to the data directly does not negate this definition.
I suspect what you need is an ‘energy monitor’ which reads the power being consumed on each phase, the solar generation. This device would allow real time indication of power flow ie how much is being generated and how much is being imported. This would give some idea whether it would be better to delay turning on some device or devices until a bit later.
I have actually posted an enquiry in Choice community about energy monitors asking about experiences with monitors. Like you I am frustrated by not having real time information about my power.
The energy monitors consist of ‘sensors’ (current transformer) which are clipped to the relevant circuit cable, one per phase plus one for solar generation. The information is fed to a monitor in the house which can be as simple as a graphic display or as complex as graphs and charts showing current, voltage and power.
Hope this makes my earlier comment clearer?


Not quite, as our original digital interval meter that was installed could not “send the information back to our energy retailer remotely, without the meter needing to be manually read by a meter reader.” That’s in the first paragraph of what you posted from the AER before they go on with other things that smart meters can do. The differences between basic interval meters and smart interval meters are just my beliefs, but after reading your post from the AER it seems they might agree with me :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m a little confused allandorrington as my original reply to you made it clear that we wanted a smart meter and the one we had was not what I consider to be a smart meter. It seems from both your post and grahroll’s the AER agrees with me as my original interval meter did not meet their definition of smart either, considering that it could not be read remotely.

Ems are another thing entirely and I’ve been looking into a few - Solar Analytics are probably near the top of my list atm due to cost. If I wanted to go for a HEMS though Solar Analytics would be out of the running since they have no control capabilities.

I have recently installed a 5kW PV system with an 11.5 kW battery, from Evergen, and have just received my first account from Evoenergy (used to be ActewAGL) Canberra. The fixed supply charges are unchanged and my consumption is less than a quarter of the account at this time last year. i don’t have a smart meter, but the software running my system is designed & monitored by the CSIRO such that it learns our pattern of energy use and optimises the balance of battery use/battery charge/grid draw/grid feed in. There is an app that shows me the real time state of the system - updated about every 5 minutes I think.

When the system was installed I was advised that I would be required by Evoenergy to install a smart meter at a cost of about $800, but this has not happened. I still have my analogue meter, which now runs backwards when I am feeding power to the grid (we all stood around & watched it doing so). A Evoenergy technician was on hand when the system was installed, as I needed a device to adapt the single phase PV system to the 3 phase power supplied to the house. About a month after installation I was contacted by Evoenergy to advise me that they would need to inspect the meter as they thought that it had developed a fault (i.e. I was hardly using any grid power at that time) - a team of them arrived & spent a quarter of an hour inspecting it all & then left, saying that it was all in order, & I’ve heard nothing since. So I’m assuming that my feed-in tariff is actually the same as my supply tariff, and they are apparently aware of it. I’m just letting sleeping dogs lie.


As part of our PV system install we have required an upgrade to a type 4/digital meter or so called “Smart Meter”. It arrived approx 4 weeks after the solar system was completed and available for use. The install is in SE Qld, Energex being the network operator.

The meter install was supposedly arranged by our retailer AGL. Energex have a subcontract to do the install for a third party who actually own the meter and lease it to AGL This extra level of detail was not spelt out on the paperwork for the solar PV install, other than we would need an upgrade to a new meter per current state regulations. A good guess is there was no need to provide that detail as it is covered by regulation. Our PV installer advised that there is not normally a charge for the meter.

The meter was provided with a mobile data device and external aerial. Supposedly the meter readings are uploaded at fixed intervals during every hour (20mins?). The meter only displays date, time and two energy counts. Energy consumed tariff 11 and energy exported. There is apparently a time delay of weeks between the meter being installed and the uploaded information being accessible for the first time. So far both counts appear to be consistent with usage. Yes, there is an app to access the data. No mention of any cost to do so in the AGL smart meter guide.

The only critical bit of advice is that if we were to change retailer, AGL can have the meter removed or alternately we need to pay for the meter? This makes no sense if it is on a lease. Any such conditions should be clear and upfront in the supply agreement. The digital meter as well as providing AGL with detailed customer usage data, does the meter reader guy out of a job which is a direct cost saving.

As close an answer as I can find at present:

No – having a digital meter installed does not affect your customer rights or the protections provided to you under the National Energy Retail Rules. You still have the right to seek and access energy concessions, rebates and hardship schemes offered by AGL, other retailers or the State Government (where applicable in conjunction with each scheme’s conditions). You also retain access to existing dispute resolution paths.

Clear as …?


Smart Meters - what are they worth?

Ausgrid paid $100m to AGL last year for 230,000

Some interesting observations.
There are still approx 10million old analogue meters in Aust and NZ according to the article.
Do you get to choose who provides your meter?
Is the cost of metering subject to regulation or genuine competition?


Same here - except the energy retailer charges $564 for the ‘install’ of the meter we don’t own, and they require the sparky who did the solar install to be present to do the customer side wiring, at our expense. The meter used here is an EDMI Mk7C.

Our meter registers values in 15 or 30 minute increments. I don’t know how often the registered values are uploaded but the energy retailer charges to report them.

One point of interest, our retailer says the counters are reset to zero on every billing cycle - hence the reason why my bills always show a ‘previous read’ of all zeros and a ‘current read’ of simply the total usage for the billing cycle - for example if I pick a random bill it will show

“Previous Read 0.000 - Current Read 725.00 - Total Usage 725.00”

where by way of example it should show something like

“Previous Read 8825.000 - Current Read 9550.000 - Total Usage 725.00”

… and then the next bill I get would show a Previous Read of 9550.00 - but it doesn’t - it shows 0.000. That goes for all three - Peak, Off-Peak and PV Buyback.

It gets better, because for Peak and Off Peak it shows by way of example:

“Previous Read 0.000 - Current Read 725.00 - Total Usage 100.00” (Peak)
“Previous Read 0.000 - Current Read 725.00 - Total Usage 625.00” (Off-Peak)

They add up to 725.00 … but …

The counters in the meter itself are not reset, they simply keep accumulating as I’ve seen all electricity meters accumulate both old school and new - they don’t zero at each billing cycle and while they may roll over one day, they haven’t yet - According to “NMI M 6-1 Electricity Meters Part 1: Metrological and Technical Requirements”: “A meter shall be able to display the quantity of electrical energy corresponding to the maximum current (Imax) for at least 4 000 h, without returning to the same index.” - that’s a shade over 166 days going flat out 24 hours a day … realistically that should equate to a number of years for most domestic applications.

It’s fairly clear their billing system is the only thing resetting to zero each billing cycle - and I have further inquiries into whether it is legal to have no identifiable connection between the numbers read from the meter and the numbers presented on the bill for billing purposes … I can’t believe it is legal. I suspect ‘muppetry’ may also be a factor :wink: