As it is now being reported that many people are being threatened and intimidated by smart meter installers and by representatives of power companies on the phone and in person, it is time to share information from others dealing with what many are calling threats and bullying. What is extremely interesting is that comments are being made verbally to citizens not consenting to smart meters being installed at their home, but these same comments are not being put in writing. What actions are you prepared to take when standing up for your rights?
- Best to deal with power distributors and their agents, only via (registered) mail where possible. If you do communicate over the phone or face-to-face tell them you are recording the conversation for evidence. dictaphones can be bought for under $100 at places like Officeworks and many mobile phones have audio and video recording capabilities these days. If anybody makes a threat of any kind you want the evidence captured (and witnesses), so photograph/record what occurs if installers arrive at your home. Alternatively, insist that they put their statements in writing.
- Don’t be intimidated. They will try to intimidate people into submission and use fear to manipulate people. Perhaps it’s time to return the favour! Some of the statements being made to citizens are “we own the meter and we will install a smart meter whether you like it or not” , “if you don’t have it installed now, you will have to pay a lot to have it installed later”, “it will be installed whether you like it or not, even if it is on your private property”, “we will cut your power off if you don’t have it installed”, “we will come back and bust your lock and install it anyway”, “we will take legal action against you”. All these statements, yet power companies, the Department of Primary Industries and the Government will not put anything in writing about the so-called “set procedure prior to disconnection”. If you are replying to any of the above statements, some are replying with the following questions: “Are you speaking on behalf of (insert name of your power distributor) or on behalf of yourself? If you speak on behalf of (insert name of your power distributor), are you authorised to do so?” (so that you can determine if the power company is liable for the threat or the person making the threat) and/or “Do you wish to retract that threat or be charged under Section 247L of the Crimes Act 1958 of Victoria? Such an offence carries a penalty of up to 15 years imprisonment.”
3. “No trespass” signs are an absolute must, as is informing in writing to the power company (CEO) you do not consent to the installation of a smart meter (many are using the signs and letters of no consent available on this site). Always keep copies of letters and take photos of signs in place – date and sign them. Some people are having them stamped and witnessed at the local police station.
4. Always try to respond to letters you receive from the power company, never ignore them. If you find you are just repeating yourself you may just choose to send something simple like “I still do not consent to the installation of a smart meter at ……. .(insert your address and NMI code) and keep a copy.
5. Never make threats, particularly threats of violence or criminal damage (many people are getting really angry and frustrated, but threatening others is not the answer). Always stress that you want a peaceful resolution but WILL ASSERT YOUR RIGHTS.