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Submission to the Australian Energy Regulator on TasNetwork’s revised tariff proposal and supporting documents as listed at :

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this proposal. I will limit my comments to two issues, which I consider inadequately addressed, or not at all considered by TasNetworks.

1) TasNetworks proposed demand-based pricing change, more accurately known as Time-of-Use (ToU) pricing is a significant departure from the existing fixed price per kilowatt/hour to one whereby the price of power changes on an hour-to-hour basis, depending on overall power demand. Their claim that this will empower the consumer to better manage their energy consumption does not stand up to the evidence so far.

2) An essential part of ToU pricing is replacing thousands of existing analogue meters throughout Tasmania with advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), utilizing a smart meter. This enables two-way wireless communication between the smart meter and the electricity producer, providing the utility with real-time data about power consumption.

However in many places where smart meters have been rolled out there have been complaints from consumers who claim it has adversely affected their health, depending on the location of the meter in their homes. This possibility should be addressed and not simply ignored as an inconvenience.

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*Don Maisch PhD has been involved in telecommunications standard setting since the early 1990s and was a member of the Standards Australia Committee setting exposure standards for electromagnetic fields. His PhD thesis examined industry influence and bias in telecommunications health risk assessment. He has recently written a book chapter on industry influence in Australian expert science committees which is due for publication in June 2015. Besides also writing about shortcomings with planned smart grids networks in Australia (see here) he is currently working on a thesis examining draconian US tax laws that have been accepted in an IGA by the Abbott government and how they affect the financial future of expat Americans lining in Australia.

• Don Maisch’s next article will be on ‘how to opt out of TasNetworks ill-thoughtout plans’ …