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Meter exchange project past halfway mark in the Kimberley

Horizon Power is almost two-thirds of the way through its Kimberley rollout of new electricity meters at customers’ premises.

The meter exchanges in the Kimberley began in September following the successful exchange of meters in several Pilbara towns including Port Hedland. Thousands of customers in the Pilbara are now receiving bills from the new automated system and in the Kimberley, the new meters installed are beginning to be automated.

“We have exchanged meters in most of Derby and we are now about to finish in Fitzroy Crossing.  At least two-thirds of Broome exchanges have taken place and our work in Chinatown is now complete,” West Kimberley Retail and Community Manager Jodie Lynch said.

New pre-payment meters have also been installed in the Aboriginal communities on the Peninsula, Looma and Yungngora.

More than 90 per cent of Broome customers surveyed have reported a professional and courteous service from our crews installing the meters.

The meter exchange project is funded by the State Government as part of its commitment to regional Western Australia and will result in new meters being installed across Horizon Power’s service area.   

They automatically read electricity consumption which will result in timelier bills for our customers.  Estimated bills will become a thing of the past for most customers, with the exception of some customers in very remote locations.

“There will be one or two more physical meter reads at customer’s properties once their meter is installed. Once that local area is complete, the meters will be connected to our billing systems and will be automatically read from then on,” West Kimberley Retail and Community Manager Jodie Lynch said. “So if you are getting an estimated bill now, you may receive one or two more depending on when your meter is exchanged.”

In some instances, where we have not been able to get access to a customers‘ meter due to a locked gate or where the meter board will not accommodate the new meter, the exchange has not taken place but we will directly communicate with these customers.

“While this project will reduce the need to access properties to read meters, our crews still need safe access during a fault or emergency.  Horizon Power is encouraging customers to provide safe access, especially in relation to dogs."  Mrs Lynch said. 

“Also, it is very important for landlords to provide their tenants with access to their meter boxes to ensure installations of the new meters can be undertaken without delays to customers and our crews,” she said.

There is no charge to Horizon Power customers for the new meters or their installation, thanks to the Government’s funding.

Customers will be advised when the meter exchange work will take place in their street up to two weeks before the exchange. Power supply to customers will be interrupted for up to 30 minutes during the exchange.

Other benefits of the meters include:

  • The electricity connection or disconnection process will be improved. Horizon Power will be able to reconnect customers or disconnect customers from electricity supply more quickly when the new meter is installed.
  • Horizon Power will be able to identify faults faster because we will be able to see whether the fault is inside the house or on our network. If the fault is related to our network, we will send crews as soon as possible to rectify it.

 Fact file

  • More than 47,000 new meters will be installed from July 2015 to the end of 2017 across a 2.3 million square kilometre service area.
  • Meters can operate in credit or prepayment meter mode allowing customers in areas approved for prepayment meters (Aboriginal communities) to move from one form of payment to the other.
  • It is estimated by Bloomberg New Energy Finance that at the end of 2014, more than 540 million advanced meters had been installed at customers’ premises to meter electricity or gas across the world. Horizon Power customers are the first to benefit from this technology in Western Australia.
  • Customers who rent properties must have access to the new meter in the event of a disconnection to ensure they can reconnect once approved.