New smart meter from carbonTRACK to benefit households, bolster grid resilience

Australian home energy management system developer carbonTRACK has announced the launch of an ‘intelligent smart meter’ that promises to benefit households, electricity retailers and grid operators alike.

For end users, the units will deliver all the benefits of the company’s EMS, and can take the place of the standard meters usually installed with residential solar PV systems.

The company says in a press release that the meters will also help to stabilise the grid and prevent blackouts. From the press release:

If supply of electricity fails to meet demand, blackouts occur. Blackouts negatively impact business, government, and households, and can damage grid infrastructure. carbonTRACK’s new Smart Meter solves this problem.

If the supply and demand can be normalised, the electricity production infrastructure can operate in an optimal manner, and peaks and troughs can be reduced.

Suppliers of electricity have very limited visibility over demand and users have no idea of its varying costs throughout the day. This market blindness has previously been unavoidable, because technology hasn’t existed that provides both sides of the market with live visibility and the ability to interact and respond instantly.

Electricity is something we take for granted, but the electricity sector is a complex mix of physical assets regulators and consumers. Electricity must generally be used the moment it is produced. Because of this, demand and supply are unable to interact the way they do in normal markets. carbonTRACK’s Smart Meter has the ability to create smart grids.

A smart grid is created through the increased use of digital information and controls technology to improve reliability, security, and efficiency of the electric grid. It involves the dynamic optimisation of grid operations and resources through the development and incorporation of demand response, demand-side resources, and energy-efficiency resources and the deployment of `smart’ technologies (real-time, automated, interactive technologies that optimise the physical operation of appliances and consumer devices) for metering, communications concerning grid operations and status, and distribution automation.

The meters will retail for about $400-$450 each, plus installation costs. Several pilot programs are already underway; the units will be commercially available from the middle of 2017.

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  1. You might wan’t to get an update from CarbonTRACK about this unit, as the chap I just talked to there said it is on ‘indefinite hold’

    1. Interesting…I’ll see how it goes in the next stages. Currently waiting for my local electrician to make the requisite meter board changes before cT installation is completed.

    1. Hi Glenn. We’ve reached out to carbonTRACK for comment. You can find their response below.

      As for our own two cents, we believe there is a case for installing smart meters provided that the customers also have access to the data (not just the electricity retailer or network company). You might be able to achieve (almost) the same effect with a home energy management system as well – and at a comparable price.

      From carbonTRACK:
      Great question Glenn.

      Smart meters are already being sold to solar owners in NSW for $400 – $600, and it is the law that all new electricity meters in NSW be smart meters. In some cases, the energy retailer is covering the cost, and in others the cost is passed on to their customers.
      These smart meters monitor solar being exported to the grid, and energy being used from the grid. The carbonTRACK smart meter will also show people how much solar energy they are consuming. They can see this information from our phone app at any time.
      carbonTRACK also allows owners to switch on appliances in their home with the app and smart plugs. This helps them to use the excess solar energy they are generating during the day to use less energy during peak times in the evening.
      So, a carbonTRACK Smart meter costs about the same as any other smart meter, but you can do more with it. I hope this answers your question!

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