HOUSEHOLD appliances are breaking down just hours or days after smart meters are installed.
Angry homeowners stuck with bills for repairs or replacement ovens, washing machines, dishwashers and fridges fear the new technology is to blame.
But electricity companies insist the meters are not responsible.
Power surges, ageing and faulty appliances and even rats chewing wiring were potential culprits.
Industry insiders confirmed some appliances did not work after a smart meter installation because an existing fault was exposed when the power was cut off and then reconnected.
Berwick’s Anthony McDonald said his oven’s element blew just days after a smart meter went in about six weeks ago.
He noticed his spa heater also wasn’t operating, the kettle went on the blink, and, later, the clothes dryer overheated.
“You can’t help but be suspicious,” said Mr McDonald, who spent more than $600 on fixing or replacing the goods.
Distributor SPAusNet, which checked its records when contacted by the Herald Sun, ruled out any link.
“We use A-grade qualified electricians and do a safety check and correct installation check. It was a normal changeover,” spokesman Joe Adamo said.
Mt Waverley woman Patricia McIntyre had to throw out spoiled food and spend $1000 on a new fridge when her old one stopped the same day her smart meter was supplied in December.
Jemena spokesman Scott Parker said, in a “very small number of cases”, appliances had not worked when power was reconnected following a smart meter installation, usually because of an existing fault.
He said an investigation found Mrs McIntyre’s fridge had a faulty defrost element.
“The issue is directly related to the condition of the appliance when the power is turned on and off for any reason,” Mr Parker said.
“All customers are encouraged to submit a claim form where they feel they may have been disadvantaged, and it’s always assessed on its merits.”
Hampton Park woman Joanne Moore said her washing machine and dishwasher also “died” days after she got a smart meter.
Energy Safe Victoria said switching to smart meters didn’t increase voltage.