Time of Use
What is Time of Use metering and ‘Smart Metering’?
Time of Use metering has been introduced in NSW to provide financial incentive to use power at off-peak times, and disincentive to use it during peak times.
Also known as ‘PowerSmart Home’ (EA), Freedom Time of Use (AGL), Daily Saver TOU (Origin).
What is Time of Use?
Previously, old ‘spinning disc’ electricity meters could only tally your electricity consumption, and didn’t know when it was used. Time of Use metering allows you to take control of the way you use your electricity and the price you will pay for it. By changing some of your daily routines it provides the flexibility to move your electricity consumption to less expensive time periods.
The changes to your daily routine don’t have to be big, either. Small changes like when you use major appliances, such as clothes dryers, dishwashers and pool pumps can all help minimise your energy usage costs – meaning lower energy bills. Most people find they can make savings under this ‘time of use’ billing arrangement.
How does Time of Use work?
With Time of Use Metering the day is divided into three different time-bands which are called ‘Peak‘, ‘Shoulder‘ and ‘Off Peak‘. Your electricity is measured using a new electronic interval meter that records electricity consumption in 30 minute intervals and the electricity rates are different in each of the three time-bands, so you pay different rates for your electricity according to the time of day it is used. The meters that can record this information are sometimes mistakenly called smart meters, but smart meters have more functions and are not generally used.
A higher rate is charged during the Peak period, than in the Shoulder and Off Peak periods. So the price you pay per unit of electricity is less when the demand for electricity is lower, and more when demand is higher. And, there is no peak on the weekend!
If more people can move their electricity use to off peak times, then the government and electricity companies will not need to make as much investment in distribution infrastructure – this will lead to lower prices over the long term.
The information below can help you choose when is the best time to use electricity in order to save on electricity bills.
[Source: EnergyAustralia – note Integral area peak begins at 1pm weekdays]
How do I move to Time of Use billing?
In order to move to Time of Use you need to have a meter installed which supports Time of Use. It’s a requirement to move to Time of Use billing when you make ‘substantial’ changes to your home electrical loads, such as installing a pool, a new stove, or a solar generation system – its normally arranged by the installers of this equipment. You can also apply to get a meter – your electricity supplier can check if you have a meter at your home and if you do not they can organise the installation. The meter records how much electricity is used in 30 minute intervals, and this means that different rates for electricity can be charged at different times of the day.
If your supplier is EnergyAustralia, you now have the option to switch back from Time of Use rates to a constant fixed price.
To see the current rates for these suppliers, please click: