A solar meter programming issue has resulted in 10,000 TasNetworks customers being under-credited for the surplus energy they put back into the utility's grid.
The company estimates that it will cost approximately $2.4 million to pay back credits to affected customers.
A TasNetworks spokesperson said the programming issue led to some solar meters incorrectly displaying the amount of energy customers are exporting back into the network.
“Although the meter has been recording the correct amount of [energy] export, it has not been displaying the correct read for our meter readers. Customers with this specific type of meter may not have been receiving the full credits they are entitled to for the energy their household is exporting to TasNetworks’ distribution grid,” said the spokesperson.
The issue only affects customers who have two-element solar meters which were installed after 30 March 2011.
TasNetworks customer engagement and network operations Mike Paine said that two-element meters installed prior to 30 March 2011 and one-element meters are not affected by the programming issue.
The company has a total of 22,500 solar meter customers.
“Once identified, TasNetworks has acted quickly to develop a plan to fix the meter programming issue. Our plans include working as quickly as possible to remove and replace all affected meters, however this process will take some time to complete,” he said in a statement.
All of the required data to accurately credit customers will be retrieved by TasNetworks when their meter is replaced, Paine added.
“Reimbursement amounts will be calculated individually and are dependent on a range of factors, such as the date meters were connected, power usage and the size of embedded generation systems,” he said.
TasNetwork’s analysis from a small sample of meters indicates that customers may be credited amounts ranging from a few dollars up to $400.
Paine said that all reimbursements will be paid by TasNetworks, not by the customer’s retailer.
Exchanging a solar meter will take approximately one hour and customers will be given advanced notice about when their meter exchange will happen.
“TasNetworks sincerely apologises to all affected customers and stakeholders for the inconvenience and will be communicating directly with our solar customers over the coming days.”
According to Paine, every affected customer has received a letter about the issue. He encouraged customer with queries to call the company on 1300 361 811.
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