I find myself asking, is UFE the UIG of Australia? Anyone who knew me in my past life in the UK knows that I harped on about Unidentified Gas (UIG) A LOT!
The idea behind the UK’s UIG is simple, it is to allocate the gas which couldn’t be attributed to a meter in an area, across all end users in that area in which it was used (known as “off-taken”). Seems simple right. But when was the last time you actually gave a meter reading? Possibly six months to a year ago, right? Well that means your off-take (unless you are on a smart meter) is estimated and you will be either over or under on allocated unidentified gas.
Now although this seems sensible with everyone eventually giving a meter read and therefore it will all work out in the wash, the issue is currently exacerbated by the extreme increase in the gas price. These high prices are now passed through to retailers and then in turn our bills.
Now what does understating this UK gas usage or allocation have to do with Australia? Well, quite a lot. The system is similar, but not the same.
Following Global Settlements being introduced by AEMO we have started seeing Australia’s version of these charges coming into our bills. We allocate the unidentified – called Unaccounted for Energy (UFE) within each region by the off-takers in that area.
What we are not doing yet, which in the UK’s defense they do there (through XOServe), is take into account those meters which are half hourly ready (smart(er) meters) and therefore their usage should be known. Currently in Australia, the offtake in a region will be directly linked to your proportion of energy being allocated to you and you literally have no say in these charges, despite having updated metering capability.
The sore point of it all is, that this is occurring at a time where our electricity market is extremely high and therefore there is a possibility of the combination of large UFEs at high prices being passed through to end users, whilst having no control over the volume or price it is passed through at. This is leading to significant shocks to companies’ outgoings, as there is little to no visibility on the charge on any given month, and no way to forecast them for a company’s budget.
I fear that UFE will become my new soap box issue, but I can guarantee this isn’t the last anyone will hear on this. I am pretty sure I won’t be the only one who will be making noise.
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