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Smart Meter FAQ

Who owns the meter at my property?

Most commonly the metering company who installed the meter, not the retailer.

Why do I pay Grey Power Electricity (or other retailer) for the meter?

The MEPs (retailers contract with Meter Equipment Providers (MEP)), charge the retailer for the use and maintenance of the meter at a property. The customer then receives one invoice which includes metering charges rather than two invoices, one from the retailer and one from the metering company.

What am I responsible for?

You are responsible for ensuring safe access to the meter and we recommend you do not ‘touch’ the metering equipment. If you believe you need the meter to be reviewed you can coordinate this through Grey Power Electricity (or the retailer you are supplied by).

Why do I want a remotely read meter or “smart” meter?

Manually read meters only measure total consumption and do not allow the time of your consumption to be measured. Measuring the time of consumption may allow you access to more competitive pricing offers.

Remotely read meters, often referred to as advanced or smart meters, allow for your usage to be recorded every half hour. This improves understanding and may allow for your consumption to be purchased more effectively than it is today. Retailers may offer price plans that work better for your profile once it is understood.

Remotely read meters are only estimated if communications are lost and cannot be re-established in a timely manner. Therefore each bill will be exact and within regulated measurement tolerances.

Advanced meters can open the door to other services such as pre-paying, time-of-use pricing, half-hourly pricing, remote disconnection/reconnection and usage analysis. All these services may be provided, in the
future, by Pulse, Grey Power Electricity or their competing retailers. Remotely read meters do not require you to provide access to your property for a meter reader. 5
Do smart meters know what appliances you’re using or know your behavioural habits? Advanced (smart) meters cannot identify which appliances you are using, or when you are using them. Your meter will measure and report the aggregate amount of energy used or generated in your home on a half-hourly basis. In total, this is the same electricity consumption data collected, just collected more frequently.

Are remotely read meters safe?

The meters are provided by qualified meter suppliers in New Zealand and must be approved and comply with all relevant regulations e.g. Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. If you are concerned with any safety aspect of these meters we recommend you do your own enquiry with the metering company and draw your own conclusions.

In addition, for your own personal electrical safety, we recommend that you do not touch or tamper with the meter for any reason.

Can I choose a meter that is remotely read or manually read?

We will happily serve customers with existing installed meters that are either a) read remotely or b) read manually by a physical site visit of a qualified meter reader. The main condition is the meter has to be with an MEP (Metering Equipment Provider) we have a contract with to ensure compliance over the long term. For commercial reasons Pulse contracts with a limited number of Metering Equipment Providers (MEPs).

Will you still allow estimate reads for manually read meters?

We are able to accept a certain degree of estimated meter reads for those manually read meter sites as long as we comply with the regulations in doing so, but it is important to note that this could change over time.

Can I have a new advanced/smart meter with the communication disabled and manually read?

It may be possible. We are currently in discussion with Metering Equipment Providers (MEPs) and our focus will be to have a contracts and services to ensure we are compliant. 

How do the prices compare?

For now, our prices are about the same; as the remote read prices were set to be competitive with manually read devices.

How are the prices of the two choices calculated?

Our metering charges are designed to cover the range of services that we secure from our contractors relating to the provision of meters, securing readings and general metering services. As the requirement for manual reading declines we expect that we will need to review our pricing, for example in hard to reach areas, it may be more expensive.

Can I use a meter purchased from an MEP?

No, at this stage Pulse does not have contracts with MEPs that allow consumers to supply their own meters. For commercial reasons Pulse contracts with a small number of large MEPs. We are investigating options for alternative meter provision, but due to compliance and health and safety issues we need to ensure that we utilise MEPs that satisfy both our and industry standards.

What can I do if I have already purchased one?

At this stage we are not in a position to say which types could be serviced by a Pulse MEP and so therefore we recommend not purchasing one. We are not currently able to offer these services.

Can I use my own meter?

No, at this stage Pulse does not have contracts with MEPs that allow consumers to supply their own meters. For commercial reasons Pulse contracts with a small number of large MEPs. We are investigating options for alternative meter provision, but due to compliance and health and safety issues we need to ensure that we utilise highly competent suppliers.

Do smart meters store customers’ personal details?

Personal details such as name and address are not stored by an advanced meter, and the consumption information collected by smart meters will be handled in accordance with the Privacy Act – just as it is now with your existing meter.

Once the smart meter data has been securely transmitted to the metering company’s data centre and successfully registered, the data is removed from the meter. The data is sent on to us and your electricity consumption information is then aligned with your account information to enable customer billing.

Will Pulse sell your personal information to third parties?

No. All of the information Pulse collects will continue to be handled in accordance with Privacy Act. We are prohibited from disclosing personal information to third parties unless required by law or as permitted by our Terms and Conditions. In the case of customer service inquiries, validation of the customer’s account is required and access by our customer service representatives will be logged to ensure adherence to privacy policies.

Do smart meters securely communicate consumption information?

Smart meter data is protected through a specially designed communication protocol that controls access using security certificates (asymmetric-key cryptography) and scrambles data using encryption (symmetric-key cryptography). The two cryptographic systems work together to ensure that the data remains secure and the communication channels cannot be infiltrated by external entities.

Security industry professionals recognize the industry best practice of using multiple layers of security is the best way to ensure there are no single points of vulnerability from either a security or privacy perspective.