What is an isolation or MPD?

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You may have just heard that your meter can't be upgraded without an isolation procedure or MPD (Meter Protection Device).

This is a rare issue that arises in approximately 1 in 20 installation attempts, primarily - but not always - when attempting to upgrade the meter at a block of older apartments, flats, or units.

These complexes are sometimes built so that multiple electricity meters share the same connection to the power grid. This is especially common in older complexes. Without the isolation procedure, it's impossible to take one meter offline without taking all meters offline, disrupting power to the entire complex. Installers and electricians aren't permitted to disrupt supply to other dwellings, so some additional work will be required to make your meter safe and legal to upgrade.

That's where the isolation procedure comes in. It involves the installation of an MPD (Meter Protection Device) into your meter board that "isolates" your meter from the other meters, allowing it to be upgraded safely and without disrupting supply.

This procedure is more complex than a normal smart meter upgrade and requires a higher level of electrical certification to complete. That's why there's an additional cost involved and why the procedure must be performed by a specialist.

Who performs isolations?

Your local electricity network typically offers the most affordable price to get an isolation done, and we can arrange this for you. Ausgrid is the exception - they do not currently perform isolations. If you're unsure, you can visit the Australian Energy Regulator's website to check who your local electricity network is.

Isolations can also be arranged privately with a Level 2 Electrician. Level 2 Electricians have the appropriate certifications to work on service lines that run between a property (both business and residential) and the electrical supply network.

How much does an isolation cost?

The cost of an isolation offered by your local electricity network will vary depending on the complexity of the work required and the number of visits it takes to complete it. A quote will typically range from $200 - $600. 

Is it worth paying for the isolation?

A smart meter can help you get a better deal on energy by using power at times of day when it's cheaper - usually the same times when renewables are generating.

If you're the home owner at your property, you're likely to recoup your investment in getting an isolation done through savings on your power bills if you're planning to remain at your property for the next few years.

Another reason you may consider getting the isolation done is that smart meters help unlock a better energy future for Australia. They allow you to support renewables by using power at greener times, and fight fossil fuels by using less power when energy is expensive and dirty.

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