Media Release – 26 June 2009
Smart meters are only smart if the people using them are fully informed about their benefits, according to Powershop chief executive Ari Sargent.
Mr Sargent echoed claims from the Parliamentary Commission for the Environment (PCE) that past and current smart meter installation programmes are short-sighted and have not passed on savings to consumers.
“Everybody knows New Zealanders are paying more for their electricity than they need to. Power companies have kept consumers in the dark. Introducing smart meters hasn’t changed that.
“As a consumer you have the right to know how much power you use every day and choose how you manage and pay for it,” Mr Sargent says.
The technology is already available in New Zealand today to do this via the Internet. Powershop.co.nz, the world’s first online electricity store, allows consumers to regularly keep track of their usage, so they have an understanding of how much electricity they are using and when usage is greatest.
“People are smarter than a smart meter and can make the right choices if they have the right information,” Mr Sargent said.
The debate around the use of the Home Area networks (HAN) to control appliances was a red herring, Mr Sargent said.
“The smart one in this equation isn’t an electricity meter that turns off appliances at certain times, it’s the person. It’s people who make decisions about how and when to use power. Home networks are several years away, and consumers are missing opportunities to use power wisely today.
“Powershop is about providing information to consumers that they can understand and that’s meaningful, so they can make smart decisions for themselves.”
Powershop also offers consumers the ability to choose, and switch between competitively priced electricity products to get the best deal for them, rather than being tied to a single provider.
Mr Sargent said in the coming weeks Powershop would be releasing a new product that demonstrates how smart meters can deliver real benefits to consumers.