Smart street lighting controls can deliver a range of road and public safety, asset management, energy reduction, environmental and overall cost benefits.

The current Type 7 metering approach that is widely used to assess street lighting energy consumption in the National Electricity Market (NEM) was not designed for the variable energy consumption that smart street lighting controls often entail (e.g. by using dimming, trimming and enabling constant light output controls or when smart city sensors are attached to lights). The Type 7 approach therefore creates an inadvertent barrier to the adoption of smart street lighting controls with consequent low adoption rates in Australia as compared to other jurisdictions.

In support of the National Energy Productivity Plan, the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER), the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA), Lighting Council Australia (LCA) and a range of smart controls and street lighting suppliers have engaged with the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) to help progress an effective, efficient, technology-neutral and optional metering regime for minor energy flows such as smart street lighting.

AEMO is currently examining options for the proposal of a NEM Rule change that would recognise such metering systems, potentially as an extension of proposals to progress initiatives suggested by the Energy Security Board (ESB).

In mid-2021, the ESB called for recognition of non-traditional metering types and locations in its Post-2025 Market Design papers. This has been subsequently reflected in a September 2021 Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) directions paper with recommendations and options for the reform of smart metering in the NEM. Importantly, the directions paper recognises the potential for smart meters to provide, “Better street lighting management for councils” .

In addition to a NEM Rule change, each individual smart street lighting control metering system will need to be verified under the National Measurement Act 1960 (Cth). A prerequisite of verification is that the metering system must be of an approved pattern. Importantly, the National Measurement Institute’s (NMI) requirements for pattern approval, NMI M 6-1, was updated in July 2020 in a manner that may help facilitate the approval of smart street lighting control systems for metering purposes.

The changes to NMI M 6-1 give applicants a second pathway to pattern approval based on Australian Standards and some increased flexibility on the part of NMI to, “….vary or interpret requirements, under either pathway, if it is deemed appropriate to support new or different technologies or applications.”

This paper outlines next steps and key approval information for stakeholders:

  • Section 4 - NEM rule change process, including consultation.
  • Section 5 - smart meter pattern approval and verification - information for suppliers.
  • Section 6 - information on the accreditation of metering data providers.