The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has granted approval for Endeavour Energy to upgrade 5,600 smart meters across NSW, in the first trial approved under its Energy Innovation Toolkit.

Endeavour Energy has been granted a trial waiver for certain regulatory requirements for this development, which will see smart meters upgraded in parts of Greater Western Sydney, the Blue Mountains, the Southern Highlands and the Illawarra region of NSW.

The trial is expected to improve the delivery of load management services that reduce electricity consumption at peak periods and lower electricity network costs for consumers. The trial will also enable trial participants to access new and innovative energy services.

The trial was approved under new powers allowing a time-limited waiver from certain regulatory requirements through the Energy Innovation Toolkit, and is subject to a range of conditions including consumer protection measures, reporting requirements and other obligations.

Results from the trial conducted by Endeavour Energy will help the AER better understand the impacts of distribution businesses rolling out smart metres, as well as informing future sandboxing trials. The trial will last for 30 months and learnings will be shared publicly at the conclusion of the trial in 2025.

Australian Energy Regulator Chair, Clare Savage, said enabling energy innovation will play an important role in delivering benefits to consumers through the energy transition. 

“This is an important milestone in the AER’s regulatory sandboxing work, and I’m delighted to be able to announce our approval of this time-limited trial waiver for Endeavour Energy.

“The rollout of smart meter upgrades presents significant benefits for both consumers and industry. This trial can help consumers reduce their electricity bills through access to new products and tariffs, better integrated technology and improved understanding of their energy use,” Ms Savage said.

The Energy Innovation Toolkit’s inaugural Year in Review was released on 11 October, revealing that 491 users have received assistance through the Regulation Navigator Tool and Innovation Enquiry Service in their first year, with the AER issuing ten new pieces of guidance in response to the most-asked regulatory enquiries.

“Through the Energy Innovation Toolkit we are making it easier for innovators to launch their energy ideas and test new business models in a real-world environment, without risk of negatively disrupting the market.

“We are committed to providing regulatory frameworks that enable energy innovation and will continue to engage extensively with industry, energy stakeholders, policy makers and the broader community to share knowledge and support new ideas through the energy transition,” Ms Savage said.

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