ROLL-OUT OF NEW SMART METERS - WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW 

ARE THEY SMART METERS?
 
Your new meter is an electronic meter can be programmed to record usage (kWh)  in half hourly intervals continuously and 10 minute intervals during periods of load control . Once a communication system is in place your meter will be able to be read remotely and becomes an AMI meter as it can support two way communication required for Advanced Meter Infrastructure. 
 
WHEN WILL THEY HAVE COMMUNICATIONS?
 
The meters that have been installed since September 2013 have communication capability. The communications part of the meter will start up shortly after they have been installed. This may not be possible in every case if there is little/no cell phone coverage.
 
ARE THEY SAFE? 
 
The options for communications is cell phone signal (GPRS). The Ministry of Health say they anticipate no adverse health effects from Smart Meters. They say:
 “… typically the exposures to you from a smart meter are only a few per cent of the public limit recommended in New Zealand and prescribed by the international standards. Exposures are low for four main reasons:
 
  • the low power of the smart meter’s transmitter, which at most operate at only a few watts.
  • they are typically located in low occupancy areas such as on the outside wall of the house.
  • there is a rapid decrease in signal strength with increasing distance from the smart meter.
  • they only transmit occasionally and for short periods. Typically, a smart meter will only be transmitting in total for a few minutes per day.”
 
For further information go to 
 
 
WILL MY METER STILL BE MANUALLY READ?
 
The communications system allow the meter to be  read remotely (where possible). Your retailer may still wish for your meter to be read manually.
 
WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE DATA FROM MY METER?
 
The Lines Company is a community owned organisation and takes data privacy very seriously. The storage and use of your meter data will continue to comply strictly with New Zealand’s Privacy legislation guidelines. 
 
 
HOW WILL MY kW LOAD CHARGE BE CALCULATED?
 
Your new meter is able to internally calculate kW load. The kW load from the data is calculated as the average of your six highest two hour blocks over the year when there has been a period of load control. For more information on how TLC calculates your kW load please check our website http://www.thelinescompany.co.nz/customers/pricing-and-billing  or call us on 0800 367 546 Option 1
 
WHY ARE MY METERS BEING CHANGED?
 
Most meters in the local area that are not already time of use meters are being replaced now. There are three key reasons for this:
  • Local people have asked for meters that record load so that TLC can charge on the basis of specific information about power use at their home and business. The Lines Company agrees this is a fairer approach and is eager to install them throughout the area as soon as practicable. 
  • Recording load is not the only reason. Electricity meters need to be re-certified or replaced at regular intervals to ensure they remain accurate and compliant. Many meters in New Zealand were due for review in 2015. 
  • In The Lines Company area there are also 7000 relays due to be replaced soon. Your new meter has a built-in relay and it is more cost effective to replace the relay with the meter, than replace some relays now, only to replace the meter later.
 
HOW CAN I TELL IF YOU ARE LOAD CONTROLLING?
 
The new meters have two small red lights on the front labelled Pulse 1 and Pulse 2. Pulse 2 flashes when we are load controlling. You can keep your load down by switching off unnecessary appliances when Pulse 2 is flashing. 
 
IS THERE A WAY TO TELL IF TLC ARE LOAD CONTROLLING OTHER THAN LOOKING AT MY METER?
 
The Lines Company’s free mobile app can be downloaded from The Lines Company’s website, the Apple App store or the Google Play store. The app includes optional audible notifications for Load Control Alerting for your GXP area, Fault Information, Planned Outages, along with an interactive map. There is also a map control indicator map on our website homepage which is an indicator of load control in your local area. www.thelinescompany.co.nz 
 
 
HOW DO YOU KNOW THEY WILL WORK PROPERLY?
 
The meters are from a supplier that has deployed over 5 million meters worldwide. The meters chosen by TLC were tested in a trial project in 2012 and we are confident these new meters work correctly. However, please let us know immediately if you suspect there is an issue with your meter.
 
 
WILL THE kW LOAD PORTION OF MY BILL GO UP?
 
For a period of time after your meter is installed you will be charged on the lower of your calculated metered kW load and your ‘profile’ kW load, so the meter itself will not cause your kW load charge to go up. 
 
Your load is influenced by things like: 
  • What type of hot water heating you have and whether it is connected to the relay.
  • When you use the most power.
  • Whether you are using a lot of power during periods of load control.
 
WILL THE BILL FROM MY RETAILER GO UP?
 
There have been over one million Advanced or Smart meters installed in New Zealand already. The Electricity Authority, say that power prices should not go up as a result of meter installation. They also note there have been some cases where the existing traditional meter had deteriorated and had been under-recording electricity use. In these cases people have been under-charged for power in the past and will pay more – their true fair share – in the future.
 
I JUST GOT A NEW METER IN THE LAST TWO YEARS WHY DO I NEED A NEW METER?
 
Then the main reason your meter is being replaced is not due to compliance but rather so you can receive a meter that is able to be read remotely and can calculate kW load internally.
 
WHO CAN I TALK TO?
 
For more information please email queries@thelines.co.nz 
For all enquiries please phone 0800 367 546 – Option 1
 
Let us know what you think of this Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) sheet. We will happily add new questions and answers as required.
 
 
Reading your new meter
 
The digital read out of your meter loops through 10 screens.
 
 
Time and Date – should be the current date and time 
 
 
 

In case of emergency call our free emergency line

0800 367 328