HEMS Pilot frequently asked questions

Please read the following frequently asked questions for important information about the Home Energy Management System (HEMS) Pilot.

About the pilot

What is this pilot about?

We're running the pilot to find out if our customers are interested in these kinds of smart Home Energy Management Systems (HEMS). The pilot will also help participants to better understand:

  • the value of energy management to your lifestyle and power bills
  • how HEMS providers can best serve you first and additionally serve the needs of other stakeholders in the electricity industry
  • if HEMS can help us to better manage the electricity network and encourage our customers to connect more renewable energy resources.

Ultimately, if HEMS facilitate the best use of energy in homes, we can minimise expensive network upgrades and help to keep power costs as low as possible for everyone.

You can also read the pilot Terms and Conditions.

What is a Home Energy Management System?

A Home Energy Management System (HEMS) allows the user to monitor energy usage and production and to manually control and/or automate the use of energy within a household. HEMS are rapidly gaining popularity as the technology behind them improves and small-scale solar power and battery storage become more viable.

A HEMS can set appliances/devices in the home to operate on schedules and manage the flow of energy from solar panels (and other generators) through the home or in and out of batteries. HEMS are usually set up and programmed by third parties with ‘set and forget’ solutions to deliver savings on electricity bills. The best outcomes may be achieved with time-of-use electricity tariffs.

HEMS will require some hardware to be installed in the home. Some can have a ‘hub’ device installed to locally manage, and give information on, the goings on inside the house. Alternatively, HEMS may also be installed ‘virtually’ and operate purely on a wireless network. Other less essential components may include smart plugs, light and temperature sensors, and smart devices within the home.

In the future, HEMS will open the door for market-trading opportunities for electricity load and generation. Additionally, non-energy related solutions like home automation, security, appliance remote diagnostics etc. may be integral in a HEMS.

Will it cost me anything?

We've engaged several service providers who'll have different offers from which you can choose. There may be costs associated with some service providers.

What's on offer and who are the service providers?

We've engaged several HEMS service providers who have different offers for the pilot from which you can choose. We've provided a quick summary of each service provider, what their HEMS is and what their offer is for this pilot at www.energex.com.au/hems.

The choice is yours to discuss your needs with any, or all, of the providers. Your chosen service provider becomes your supplier, managing your energy use with you and on your behalf, during the pilot.

Please note: If you decide not to proceed with any of the service providers that you initially spoke to, you can complete the Expression of Interest Form again, and speak to one or more of the other service providers.

Where is the pilot being run?

We've selected to run this pilot in four suburbs in and around Brisbane, representative of the typical household. These suburbs are Chapel Hill, North Lakes, Springfield Lakes and Wakerley. You can participate in the pilot if your household is within one of these suburbs and you choose from the HEMS offers from our service providers.

Is it compulsory to participate in this pilot if I live in one of the chosen areas?

No, you're not required to participate in the pilot if you don’t want to. However, if you do wish to participate, spaces on the pilot are limited.

Why should I get involved in this pilot, what's in it for me?

Being involved in the pilot can help you to make the best use of your energy needs. You'll be helping us to understand the value that HEMS can provide to you and your energy bills.

Why is Energex running it?

We're running the pilot as one of Energy Queensland’s electricity distribution network companies. The pilot will allow us to understand how customers can best use HEMS to manage their energy use, reduce their bills and under what conditions they're willing or able to assist the network during times of critical peak demand.

What's Energex's benefit from this?

We hope to understand how HEMS can help us to better manage network security and reliability whilst keeping our costs to a minimum. This should in turn help to keep electricity prices as low as possible for everyone.

Why would Energex want to help me reduce my bills? Won't that reduce your revenue?

While any reduction in your electricity bill is a good outcome for you, the cost savings to us are potentially even greater. The bigger the cost savings to us the more likely that electricity prices will reduce for all our customers.

What happens if my electricity bill is more expensive that it was before I joined the pilot?

We're supporting a bill guarantee. If your bill is more expensive during the pilot than it would have been (based on your pre-pilot tariff), then we'll pay up to $80 per quarter ($26 if monthly billed) of the difference (see Terms and Conditions, 13 for details.)

This guarantee is in place from the date of your HEMS installation until 31 October 2020 to ensure your HEMS can be fine-tuned for your individual needs.

How long does the pilot go for?

The pilot will end no later than 30 April 2021. We may need to end the pilot early, but it will be under exceptional circumstances.

What is an event?

An event is the alteration of power to your appliances managed by the HEMS. We'll be looking at the opportunities the HEMS provides us to manage electricity network demand and other issues with minimal/no impact on your lifestyle. There may be up to 20 events from 1 December 2020 to 30 April 2021.

Will Energex want a HEMS service provider to manage my appliances during an event?

As part of the pilot, we're proposing to activate demand and energy management events* after 1 December 2020. Depending on your chosen HEMS provider, you'll be able to opt in or out of these events at a household level. If you opt in, depending on your agreement with your HEMS service provider, you may get a monetary or some other form of reward.

There may be up to 20 events from 1 December 2020 to 30 April 2021.

*An 'event' is explained in the FAQ above.

What happens at the end of the pilot?

Talk to your service provider before you agree to participate about the options they'll support at the end of the pilot. We're happy for you to retain your relationship with your system service provider at the end of the pilot.

Can I leave the pilot at any time? Am I locked in once I've joined?

Yes, you can leave the pilot if you wish. Ensure that you understand any conditions of leaving under the agreement you have with your HEMS service provider.

Will Energex connect other devices to my home just because I joined the pilot?

Any device or monitoring equipment installed by us will only be with your consent. It'll be installed in your meter box and at no cost to you. This equipment will be used to back up data taken from the pilot.  This equipment will remain in place at the end of the pilot.

Can I participate?

How do I participate in the pilot? What do I need to do?

Complete and submit the Expression of Interest form. We'll pass on your details to the HEMS service provider(s) you are interested in talking to. They'll then contact you and, should you choose their offer, they'll enrol you into the pilot. Your chosen service provider becomes your supplier, managing your energy use with you and on your behalf, during the pilot.

Please note: If you decide not to proceed with any of the service providers that you initially spoke to, you can complete the Expression of Interest Form again, and speak to one or more of the other service providers.

What will it cost me to participate?

It all depends on which service provider offer you select, but there are no costs charged by us.

I'm a renter, can I participate in this pilot?

Yes, renters are able to participate, but please get your landlord’s written approval first. It will be assumed that you have your landlord’s approval but your chosen service provider may seek proof before going ahead and enrolling you in the pilot.

Do I lose control of my own appliances in my home?

No. You remain in control of appliances in your home based on any conditions you agree with your service provider.

After 1 December 2020 we'll test your HEMS ability to react to some specific demand and energy management events*. Your chosen service provider will work with you to understand how you'd like to respond to these events as they happen. The intent of any event will be to not inconvenience you.

*Events are explained in an FAQ above.

Do I have to have solar panels to participate?

No. While having your own electricity generation on your property gives you far greater opportunity to benefit from this pilot with your service provider, it isn't a condition of pilot participation.

Do I have to change my electricity tariff to participate?

This depends on the opportunity offered by your service provider. To gain the most benefit from the pilot and the HEMS you choose, a change in electricity tariff might be the best option.

Do I need a new electricity meter? Will anything be done to my meter?

Your HEMS service provider will be able to tell you if your meter is suitable for their system (for example, a meter with a digital readout screen may be most suitable for the offer you accept).

Can I still have some appliances on my cheap economy/night rate tariffs to participate?

Yes. However, this might limit the opportunity to maximise the benefit from the pilot. Your service provider will be able to tell you the suitability of keeping appliances on economy/night rate tariffs.

Be aware that removing an economy or night rate tariff from your property may mean your electricity retailer removing the meters for that service – meter removal might have a cost associated with it. If, after the pilot, you wish to go back to your original set up and reinstate an economy or night rate tariff, this might also come at a cost with your retailer.

If I have a problem during the pilot, who do I contact?

If the problem is associated with the HEMS or a connected electrical appliance, then you need to talk directly to your service provider. For any other problem not associated with the pilot you should follow processes you would normally follow.

If I join the pilot and I move premises, what happens then?

This should form part of any agreement you have with your service provider. There may be costs from your service provider associated with leaving the pilot early at your existing home.

What happens in my home?

Installation questions you should ask your service provider

You'll need to discuss with any prospective service provider what their HEMS installation process entails before entering into an agreement with them to enrol you into the pilot.

Answers to all these questions will be dependent on the individual service provider, their system requirements and individual installer.

  • What happens on the system installation day?
  • Does the installer need to enter my house?
  • Do I have to be at home?
  • How long will the installation take?
  • Will I still have power while the system is being installed?
  • Where in my home is the system installed?
  • What changes at home after the system is installed?
  • What does the system measure and how is it different to my electricity meter?
  • Does the system use energy? Will it increase my power bill?
  • What will managing my energy do to my appliances?
  • Will this void the warranty I have on my appliances?
  • If I want the system removed, who do I contact?
  • Do I own the system? Can I keep it at the end of the pilot?

If something goes wrong with anything in my home or appliances during this pilot, what will Energex do about it?

Whille we're coordinating and supporting this pilot, the responsibility for managing any problems associated with your HEMS and its impact on any appliances remains with your service provider. However, as part of the selection process for the service providers chosen for the pilot, we require that they have suitable documented customer service processes to manage issues appropriately and insurance policies to cover any unlikely warranty and liability issues.

About the service providers

Who are these companies – I’ve never heard of most of them. Why should I trust them?

The HEMS industry is relatively new and so you may not have heard of some of these companies. However, we've been working with these companies to establish their suitability (processes and systems) to be service providers to this pilot.

Why are you giving me a choice of service providers?

We realise that not all customers’ needs are the same in their electricity usage. Having service providers with different offers means there's a better chance that you'll find a HEMS that best suits your needs.

Please note: If you decide not to proceed with any of the service providers that you initially spoke to, you can complete the Expression of Interest Form again, and speak to one or more of the other service providers.

What are the service providers going to do with my information? Is my privacy protected?

We'll only be seeking relevant information and data from the HEMS service providers for the purposes of the pilot. You'll need to ask the service providers if your information will be shared with any other entities.

What are these service providers going to do to my house?

This will depend on the individual service provider and their installer. You'll need to discuss with any prospective service provider what their HEMS installation process entails before entering any agreement with them to enrol you into the pilot.

Why do they have different offers?

HEMS service providers offer different technical solutions and functionality. These differences mean a variety of opportunities are on offer from which you can choose.

Some/one of the companies I spoke to didn't want me to participate with them? Is that allowed?

Yes. While this is a pilot program, service providers are working in a commercial environment and sometimes they may not be able to provide a system to suit your needs within the confines of their offer. If this is the case, there may be another service provider whose offer is more suitable.

If my service provider exits the pilot for any reason, what happens then?

Please discuss this up front with any prospective service providers. This should form part of any agreement you enter into with them.

Does Energex endorse these service providers?

While we don't endorse any individual service provider, they've all been taken through our review process to ensure, as much as possible, that their HEMS work and that they have suitable protections for pilot participants taking up their service.