This submission responds to the NSW Government Smart Meter Task Force’s Discussion Paper. PIAC supports the introduction of smart meters, provided consumers are given the opportunity to make an informed choice about whether to have a smart meter installed. That choice should be based on clear, simple and accurate information about the true cost of the investment and the scope the consumer has to benefit from having such a device. PIAC does not support a government-mandated roll out of smart meters. PIAC argues that the more widespread introduction of smart meters should be accompanied by a comprehensive consumer information campaign. PIAC also makes a number of comments in the submission related to time-of-use pricing. While the Discussion Paper does not propose mandatory TOU pricing for consumers with a smart meter, the technology does enable consumers to go on to such a contract. PIAC, therefore, highlights some of the issues related to the introduction of TOU pricing, including the reduced capacity of some consumers with physical disabilities and other vulnerable groups to change their patterns of electricity consumption in response to price signals.
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