Brumby Govt Responsible For Slugging Victorians With Smart Water Meters

Brumby Govt Responsible For Slugging Victorians With Smart Water Meters

Victoria Shadow Minister for Urban Water Louise Asher

Labor To Slug Victorians With Smart Water Meters

Victor P Taffa

The Minister for Water needs to reveal whether or not the Labor Government intends to slug Victorians with smart water meters in the same way it has slugged them with smart electricity meters, Shadow Minister for Urban Water Louise Asher said today.

Ms. Asher said since 2007 the Labor Government had been undertaking Pilot Programmes and consultancy studies on implementing Smart Water Meters in Victorian Households.

The Labor Government’s Our Water Our Future website reveals that the Victorian Water Trust investigated smart water metering, and a ‘Smart Water Metering Cost Benefit Study’ dated February 2010 was completed by Marchment Hill Consulting Pty Ltd.



The study reveals the following:

• Consumers may face more frequent billing (p.30), a 10 year replacement cycle (p.25), and different pricing mechanisms (p. 32 and 47), but the water authorities will save money (p.17 and 30).

• The study involved the Melbourne metropolitan water authorities (Melbourne Water, City West Water, South East Water and Yarra Valley Water) and Barwon Water, Central Highlands Water and Coliban Water.

• The smart water meters can provide daily water usage data and two-way communications between the water utility, the water meter and the customer. The smart meters can also report abnormal usage to the customer and/or the water utility.

• The study states the smart water meters will reduce the so-called consumer ‘bill shock’. There is also a reference to the smart water meters being able to provide to the water authorities the extent to which consumers are using alternative water supplies, e.g. water tanks.

• The study outlines the benefits of the smart water meters to include reduced water leakage and reduced cost of retail operations.

• The report states during the consultations that the ‘Water authorities reported that customers react better to being given information about the volume of water that they use…than to information on the cost of water’.

The study recommends for next steps to include ‘… market research with a representative sample of customers should be conducted to quantify how customers would value the information provided by smart water metering and how they believe they would respond.’

South East Water employed Marchment Hill Consulting to ‘… develop an understanding of whether the Victorian electricity Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) deployment could be leveraged to produce benefits for the water industry and its customers’. South East Water sent out notices in November 2009 asking residents to be involved in a water usage study. A Myer voucher to the value of $50 was provided to participants.

Ms. Asher said the Brumby Government’s roll-out of the electricity smart meters was a fiasco. A report by the Auditor-General revealed the roll-out was late and the cost had blown out from $800 Million to $2.25 Billion. Melburnians were hit with letters from their utility provider slugging them for the installation of the Meter.

“Consumers are already paying high price hikes in their water bills to cover the Brumby Government’s $4.9 Billion worth of Infrastructure Projects. The costs of implementing smart water meters will add further to already high water bills.” Ms. Asher said.