What are smart meters?
Smart meters are a special type of electricity meter. They are sometimes called interval meters, advanced meters or 'type 4' meters.
They are different to other meters because they:
- record how much electricity a house or business is using at regular times during the day
- send the readings directly to your energy retailer or distributor electronically.
This means no one has to come to your place to:
- read your electricity meter
- work out how much electricity you use when you change energy retailers or move house.
Smart meters can tell you a lot about:
- how much electricity you use
- when you use electricity.
Smart meters give you more choice of electricity plans
Smart meters let you choose a:
- time-of-use electricity plan
- single rate electricity plan.
If you don't have a smart meter, you can only choose single rate plans.
A time-of-use tariff means that electricity costs different prices at different times of the day:
- Peak – this is when electricity costs the most. Peak rates usually apply in the evenings from Monday to Friday.
- Off-peak – this is when electricity is cheapest. Off-peak rates usually apply overnight, on Saturdays and on Sundays.
- Shoulder – this is when electricity costs a bit less than peak. Shoulder rates usually apply in-between peak and off-peak periods.
A time-of-use tariff plan could be a good choice for you if you:
- are out a lot in the evenings from Monday to Friday
- are at home during the day or on weekends
- can use your appliances, like your washing machine or dishwasher, on weekends.
Tools that come with smart meters
Smart meters may come with tools to help you see how much electricity you're using. For example:
- in-home display units
- web portals.
With an in-home display unit, you don't have to wait for your bill to know how much energy you're using. It shows you:
- how much electricity you are using right now
- how much your electricity right now will cost per hour.
A web portal is a website. It shows you how much electricity you use in a:
You can find your distributor's number on your bill, usually under the 'Faults and Emergencies' section – see our sample electricity and gas bills for help finding this. If you are still not sure who your distributor is, contact your energy retailer or see our Who is my energy distributor? FAQ page.