The Brumby Government’s troubled $2 billion smart meter rollout has been given a ringing endorsement by an independent economic analysis, which found it to be “cost effective no matter which mix of costs and benefits are used.”

The Oakley Greenwood report, to be released today, found that the benefit of rolling out the smart meters would be between $1.87 billion and $3.51 billion over 20 years and that when combined with additional demand management services the benefits would be between $2.58 billion and $5 billion over the same period.

The report found that the cost over a 20 year period of installing 2.5 million smart meters in Victorian homes would be up to $2 billion (with additional services) compared with continuing to operate current manual meters for a cost of $1.5 billion.

Energy Minister Peter Bachelor told The Age that a moratorium on time-of-use pricing, which charges households more during peak times, would remain until the end of the current trials.

Digital smart meters are being installed to encourage households to cut energy use and shift to off-peak usage when power is cheaper to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Source: Peak Energy.