VICTORIA’S new electricity smart meters could get the axe with the state’s 2.6 million households and business owners being asked for their view.
The State Government will today launch a review of the program amid fears of rising electricity bills and safety concerns.
Energy Minister Michael O’Brien said there has been a significant public concern and a “lack of confidence” in smart meters.
“The Coalition Government wants to hear what Victorians and the industry think about smart meters and what can be done to try to improve this program,” he said.
An Auditor-General’s report last year found the installation costs had blown out from the original estimate of $800 million to more than $2 billion.
And the program has faced heavy criticism that households face power bill rises of up to $100 as the true cost of the smart meters program becomes clear.
Australian Energy Regulator documents seen by the Herald Sun last month show electricity distributors forecast a $1.24 billion hit on households to build and run the system.
There were also concerns that unqualified workers had been hired to work on the installation program after a draft safety review revealed nine supervised workers did not hold the right electrical certificate.
Smart meters were introduced to encourage households to cut energy use and shift to off-peak use to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The previous Labor government said smart meters would save about $2.5 billion over 20 years.
About 630,000 meters have been installed.
The rollout was originally due for completion in 2013.