'

Halt on Victorian smart meter scheme

The Victorian Government said yesterday that it had delayed its smart meter scheme until it can look into the effect of time-of-use pricing structures on consumers.

The Victorian Government said yesterday that it had delayed its smart meter scheme until it can look into the effect of time-of-use pricing structures on consumers.

Energy Minister Peter Batchelor said the moratorium will allow a joint assessment between government, industry and consumer groups. The roll-out of the smart meters will continue; however, the electricity companies could not change the way they charge consumers for electricity, according to a spokesperson for the minister.

"Time-of-use pricing is where customers are charged different rates at different times of the day. This pricing structure will help Victorians control their energy costs, but we need to make sure the changes are fully understood across the community before they are introduced," Batchelor said in a statement.

"Electricity distribution businesses have agreed to delay the introduction of time-of-use pricing until more work is done to protect vulnerable Victorians," he said.

The government would also take into account the findings of the regulatory review of smart meters currently being undertaken by the Essential Services Commission.

The roll-out of meters, which involves various energy providers and will touch 2.5 million Victorian homes and small business over the next few years, is intended to help reduce the state's energy use and carbon footprint.