Eleni Kontogiorgis, Julie-Ann Connor and Sonja Rutherford inspect a smart meter (inset) that “exploded” at Hadfield Dental Group. PIC: SUSAN WINDMILLER
POWER company Jemena has removed smart meters from two Hadfield properties that it says are at risk of vandalism after meter “explosions” frightened residents.
The meters were two of 11 in the Moreland area that were replaced in the past fortnight after damage attributed to power surges and vandalism.
Jemena spokesman Scott Parker said smart meters were replaced at a dentist and medical centre in Geum St last Monday with “older, electronic” models to discourage further attacks.
Pascoe Vale MP Christine Campbell was inundated with calls from constituents seeking assurance that the new technology – now in more than a million Victorian properties – was safe.
Mr Parker said police were investigating suspected vandalism attacks on five meters after tests confirmed liquid on the failed devices did not come from inside.
He said a further six meters in Pascoe Vale were replaced after they “failed safely” following a power surge in January. Energy Safe Victoria is investigating.
In Parliament, Energy Minister Michael O’Brien said he was assured by Energy Safe Victoria that smart meters were not exploding, adding that the MFB found no evidence that smart meter malfunctions caused fires.
But Electrical Trade Unions secretary Dean Mighell said safety concerns were legitimate and meters should be mounted on flame-resistant boards.