Smart metering has come a long way. Most Victorian customers are now billed via a smart meter. There’s been some hiccups along the way but generally speaking, for the bulk of customers their data is available daily and through the Jemena and United portals where an up-to-the-hour query will give customers the latest data, direct from their meter. For the rest of the country, smart meters are on their way and – with the added incentive of them actually doing something smart, such as controlling household appliances – the demand for their widespread deployment will grow.
So what could be smarter about smart meters other than virtual net-metering with real-time visibility?
A virtual net-metering revolution has quietly occurred in a number of places around the world, including California in the US. California’s version of virtual net-metering allows Californians living in a multi-dwelling building, such as an apartment complex, to have a shared solar system with a percentage of output from each interval (30 minutes is the standard for Australian smart meters) being allocated to each of the owners of the solar system. So if there were 10 residents in an apartment complex who owned a shared solar system on the roof generating 10kWh at midday, each customer would get 1kWh of power over one hour (two intervals), which would offset any of their usage during that period. If they didn’t use any power then their 1kWh would be exported and they’d be paid the same as any other solar PV owner.