The electricity companies use meters to record the electricity consumption and production at your premises. Installing a solar power system will mean some adjustment to the metering arrangement at your premises.

In most areas a digital interval meter incorporating time of use (TOU) recording will be installed, after a solar power installation. It is a requirement to move customers to TOU billing when substantial changes are made to a premises, including installing a solar power system.

What is Time of use metering?

Time of use metering divides the day up into three different time periods known as Peak, Off-peak and Shoulder. These time periods vary across the different electricity distributers and between weekdays and the weekend.

Your electricity usage is measured in 30-minute intervals and different rates are charged for the electricity depending on the time it is used.

The rate charged for Peak period usage is higher than in Shoulder or

Off -Peak periods, and there is no Peak period on the weekends.

Time of Use billing is a mechanism to try and spread the use of electricity throughout the day by providing price incentives to use power when traditionally the demand for electricity is lower and reduce usage when demand is higher.

By making changes to the time you consume electricity, and using appliances such as the washing machine, dryer, dishwasher at Off-peak time period’s, significant savings can be made on electricity bills.

Bi-Directional Interval meters

Under the current net feed-in-tariff arrangement a bidirectional interval meter is used to measure the electricity consumption and the solar electricity exported. A bi directional meter allows for the export of the surplus solar power to the grid, but also for TOU consumption in times when the premises is using more power than is generated by the solar system.  Under a gross-feed-in tariff a separate meter is used to record the solar produced.

What is a Smart Meter?

A smart meter refers to a meter that is used to monitor the use of electricity, gas or water by a customer, where the meter is also able to perform other functions than just accumulating a total for the energy used.

These functions include:

  • Providing data on energy used at different times of the day or night
  • Measure incoming and outgoing electricity such as in a solar power installation.
  • Allow data to be read remotely
  • Allow electricity to be shut off, or turned on from a remote location such as an energy distributors depot.

A smart meter has more functionality than a digital interval meter