Modern city with network connection concept

Project Overview

Duration: Six months (Jan – Jun 2023)

Budget: $247,000

Contact: Tim Moore, Research Engineer, BSGIP

Find out more: Meter Unbundling: Final Report

A critical part of successfully achieving a global energy transition is ensuring significant consumer participation through uptake of distributed energy resources (DER), such solar PV, battery storage and electric vehicles. One commonly discussed obstruction for further DER uptake by consumers is the cost and complexity of acquiring and benefitting from these technologies through market participation.

BSGIP has been working to address barriers to electrification by developing and advocating for more just, accessible, and equitable system and market participation models for DER. These models aim to explicitly consider and manage the need for complexity with accessibility, consumer value drivers, and contextual factors that may challenge uptake.

To develop this report, BSGIP used our strong technical understanding of the Australian energy system, coupled with expertise in socio-techno-economic (STE) analysis to consider a wide array of impacts of energy change, in this case changes to energy metering. The project team leveraged BSGIP’s existing capabilities and expertise to develop an analysis framework that allowed us to gain a deeper insight into the potential impacts of the proposed changes on consumers. This socio-techno-economic analysis and approach allowed us to better explore the range of potential impacts of proposed energy metering changes, and to present a case for deeper consideration of key issues that have been blockers to past reforms achieving their objectives.

Our goal in undertaking this work was to explore the limits and impacts of increasing metering flexibility, including social, financial, and commercial impacts. Our exploration delved into:

  • The role that meters play in intermediating the relationship between households and the market;
  • The potential for optimised systems to lead to heavily sub-optimal outcomes;
  • How opportunities that involve multiple consumers have the potential to improve or substantially worsen equality; and
  • How smarter metering could reimagine how local energy systems are formed and operate.

Our analysis showed that increasing flexibility in metering does not predetermine a good or bad outcome. If implemented carefully it can create benefits for all. But if not, it can reinforce inequity, exacerbate social power imbalances, or create bad financial outcomes for consumers.

This work can act as a flag to decision makers to analyse reform more expansively. A socio-techno-economic and critical lens can reveal issues that we have not observed in current regulatory discourse but are key determinants of the outcomes of change. We hope our findings will inform the energy market reform process and lead to better outcomes for all participants, including greatly-improved household electrification with benefits flowing to consumers.