Australian consumers expect their lifestyles to be sustainable and affordable. In addition, industry would like to avoid short term overly-reactive decisions and appropriately manage the risk and uncertainty associated with long term investments. From a network perspective, the future demands modernisation of Australia’s electricity networks, transforming them to become so called “Smart Grids”. This will enable a transition from passive to active consumer and empowered participant who can contribute to minimising future long term price rises. This paper argues that, due to the far reaching benefits on offer, there is justification to accelerate the modernisation and automation of the electricity grid and to promote competitive consumer engagement. There are, however, impediments to the transition and this paper makes recommendations to overcome them.