Last year the Victorian Government, through the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), issued an Options paper asking for feedback on proposed changes to the way electricity metering is installed and managed in Victoria. The purpose of the paper was to give Victorian community and industry stakeholders the opportunity to provide their views on how Victoria can best transition to the new national arrangements for metering competition for households and small businesses.
What is of particular interest to Stop Smart Meters Australia is the question posed by DELWP on whether Victoria should vary its current policy position on the ‘mandatory’ nature of smart meters, in order to fall in line with national arrangements. (See our post entitled Smart Meters by Stealth for an overview of consumers’ right to opt out under the new national rule commencing 1 December 2017.)
The 18 responses to DEWLP make for some very interesting reading: http://www.delwp.vic.gov.au/energy/electricity/smart-meters
In response to whether Victoria should vary its current policy position that smart meters are mandatory and allow households and small businesses to opt out of having a communicating smart meter Jemena wrote:
“About 2 % of JEN’s customers have steadfastly refused a communicating AMI smart meter. We consider customers should be able to opt out of having a communicating smart meter. The opt-out policy would be consistent with the national metering competition framework and reflects the customers’ interests.” (Emphasis added).
AusNet Services wrote:
“The current CROIC [Cost Recovery Order in Council] allows Victorian customers to refuse a smart meter exchange leaving the old meter in place. Whilst the national smart meter framework requires customers to receive a manually read interval meter instead. This essentially promotes the practice of removing communications modules from functioning meters, although we currently offer in very limited circumstances such as hypersensitivity. We would not support removing the communications module for any other reason.” (Emphasis added)
This is great news; both Jemena and AusNet services argue that smart meters should not be compulsory in Victoria, and AusNet Services acknowledges some people do suffer from electrohypersensitivity (EHS) as a result of the pulsed radiation emitted by smart meters. Yet the Andrews Labor Government REFUSES to admit this!!
Red Energy and Lumo Energy wrote:
“Red and Lumo support the national arrangements applying in Victoria, inclusive of the ability for customers to choose not to have a communicating smart meter.” (Emphasis added)
Yet United Energy disagrees, writing that smart meters should always be installed except on “the few occasions when telecommunications network and signal strength cannot are not available at the metering installation.” (Emphasis added)
This is typical of this heartless company who even refused to exchange their smart meter for a disabled young lady who suffered excruciating pain as a result of the pulsed radiation emitted from her smart meter. This woman’s mother wrote:
“United Energy have no empathy at all. They do not give a damn who suffers, and they will continue to deny that the smart meter is a health risk for some people. They continue to lie. I feel so very angry and frustrated that this is actually happening and that no one, including politicians and journalists, are brave enough to do anything about this.” See: https://stopsmartmeters.com.au/2014/05/15/nicolas-nightmare-continues/
And to top it off, the so-called Joint Consumer Groups’ submission advocates for the maintenance of mandatory smart meters. They wrote:
“Many of the identified benefits flowing from smart meters rely on communications technology. Customers opting out of having a communicating smart meter on any significant scale would diminish the value of processes currently undertaken by network businesses, including network management, safety and remote energisation. Given the benefits that flow from a fully communicating network, and that this requirement is already in place, there is little rationale for a change in approach at this stage. There have been a number of changes to this policy over the period of the rollout. To realise the societal benefits the policy should remain that advanced meters remain mandatory for households and small business.” (Emphasis added)
It is a simple and well known fact, that smart meters overwhelmingly benefit the multinational companies who install them and NOT consumers. See for example:
The partners of the Joint Consumer Groups’ submission are: The Alternative Technology Association (ATA), Consumer Action Law Centre (Consumer Action), Consumer Utilities Advocacy Centre (CUAC), the Brotherhood of St Laurence, Community Information & Support Victoria and St Vincent de Paul Society.
These organisations should be ashamed of themselves for abandoning the very people they claim to support.