THE 6 STEPS TO ENSURE A SMOOTH PROCESS
In December 2017, the Power of Choice reforms were introduced to give consumers more options in the way they use energy. As a result, all metering is now organised by your Energy Retailer (AGL, Energy Australia, Origin, etc). Usually your solar company of choice would help as much as possible with this process as it can be quite annoying and drawn out at times.
The following steps will help make the process run more smoothly:
1. Once you have signed a contract and paid a deposit, ask your solar team if you will need metering protection as this is an issue that pushes wait times out;
2. Call your energy retailer and explain you are having a solar system installed and that you need to get a NET meter. This will allow you to use your electricity in home before exporting the excess to the grid;
3. Your energy retailer should forward you a form to be completed; this is usually best done by your installer as the form can be complex. They will also ask for the Ausgrid approval number and the Certificate of Compliance Electrical Work (CCEW). Your installer should have both of these once the install is complete.
4. Once the solar install has finished, and the form sent back to your energy company, you should call them to make sure they’ve received it and to find out the wait time. Depending on the company the wait time could be anywhere from 7 days to 8 weeks. During this time your solar system will not be working, so it would be wise to try and bargain for a shorter waiting period. How achievable that is depends on each particular case.
5. Once the day has arrived to finally have your new NET meter installed, you may find the installer refuses to complete the job. This is usually for one of two reasons:
i) there isn’t enough room in the switchboard, or
ii) you don’t have metering protection. Although if you followed Step 1, then this shouldn’t be an issue.
Not having enough room in the meter board can be an issue if the house is older and has a few extensions. This could be quite costly if a board upgrade is required.
Metering Protection is just a service fuse per phase that needs to be installed in order for the electrician to safely work on the meter. This usually isn’t very expensive to have installed and can be completed quite quickly. Early prevention is the best option here, so talk to your solar team to find out more information.
All new meters installed in NSW are going to be digital interval meters, though there are a few different types and brands. In our opinion the type you want is a smart interval meter. This negates the need for a meter reader coming to your house every three months by transmitting the data more frequently to your energy retailer. It will also negate estimated bills which can be well over what a house actually uses.
6. When your NET meter has been installed, your solar system can be switched on, and you’ll start saving money on your electricity bills.
Note: We’ve had a few customers ask about the risks of having radio waves permanently attached and transmitting from properties. While there certainly are radio waves transmitting every so often back to the energy retailers, these waves are no more harmful than a mobile phone, TV aerial, or radio in your car.