Essential Services Commission answers questions on bullying and threats….

The Broadmeadows Progress Association put this question to the Victorian Essential Services Commission (ESC):

“In doing their best endeavours to install smart meters the distributors are adopting bullying tactics including;

  • Threatening to disconnect electricity
  • Threatening to impose financial penalties
  • Telling the customer that they have to accept installation
  • Threatening to break any locked meter box

The Distributors are also ignoring customers’ clear direction that they do not grant permission for the meters to be installed for example;

  •  The distributors refuse to officially record customers’ direction that permission is not given for installation of the smart meter.
  • Notices, placed on meter boxes, clearly stating that permission is not given to install the smart meter, are ignored by the installers.

Is this behaviour by the Distributors in accordance with the Essential Services definition of “best endeavours”?”

In answer to this question the Essential Services Commission wrote:

 “ESC does not consider the behaviour described as being consistent with “best endeavours”.  We recommend any such instances be brought to the attention of the Energy and Water Ombudsman Victoria (EWOV).”

This entry was posted in best endeavours, Essential Services Commission, Smart Meter. Bookmark the permalink.

46 Responses to Essential Services Commission answers questions on bullying and threats….

  1. Steve g says:

    Reading through all the replies, I can’t see the power in numbers, all the cases being discussed are individual, we dont seem to have a collective force yet and time is running out.

  2. As a precaution, I have a video camera on hand to record any encounter with a Powercor employee who tries to install a meter or harras us. If there is bullying or destruction of property (breaking my lock) it will be made very public.

  3. Joshua says:

    We just had Jemmena disconect our power on the basis of a so called fault. They did this without any warning, and then contacted us to tell us we had to sign a smart meter consent form for the power to be reinstated. The problem was apparently that the meter was not grounded, however two electricians who had worked at our house over the last two years found no issues with our meter box. It makes me wonder if some of these defects are either fake or if they disconnect the ground prior to turning off your power to force one into signing the consent form. This is bully tactics at its best.

    • Jan De Plessey says:

      An ADMISSION that CONSENT IS REQUIRED. If the fault is legitimate then this is a situation that they have to fix and thus cannot employ their usual intimidation and bullying tactics which they use to gain IMPLIED consent. So this is what they’ve come up with. They are obligated to restore power. Josh are you prepared to test it out and not give consent ? We really need to be on our guard if a fault was to occur.

  4. Ronald Tan says:

    For those who can afford it with independent solar panels stand alone people should be looking into it and possibly saving up for them,becos I think in due course they will try to change the law to force us all to have a smart meter. Its either that leave the state or migrate. The government knows we are all consicious objectors and they will be aiming their sights at us once their rollout for the state is completed at the end of the year. I think a backup plan should be on everybodys list. Its a food for thought .

    • tony says:

      hi on that note, l would like to know if it is legislation ,and if it is,what is the act number, there has to be a act number for it to be law, and enfoced .could someone help me with that thanks tony

      • 1vimana1 says:

        It is not the Law that you have to have a Microwave Smart Meter. It is only a Mandate and a mandate is only an instruction which IS NOT THE LAW, simple as that !

  5. Eric says:

    A family member of a friend just passed away in their sleep for no apparent reason and was even exercising at the gym the night before. I went to visit my friend where there were many family members visiting to provide support. I met a gentleman there, one of the relatives and we spake about unexplained increases in certain sicknesses and we spake about things such as asbestos being once safe. I brought smart meters into the conversation and lo and behold this gentleman works for one of the distributors (not my area) and is actually responsible for the rollout of smart meters and he told me that the meters were safe. I disputed the point and proceeded to tell him of all the problems I am having with head pains and that the timing of these problems beginning coincide perfectly with when smart meters were rolled out in all the houses in my street surrounding my own. I told him that the distribution companies should be sued and he said that they can’t be sued because they’re just following the government mandate to using best endeavors to have these things installed by 2013. He also told me that if the distribution company he works for had it’s way it would be installing the meters “in pockets” and not as a statewide rollout. At my suggestion that the issue for them is that they would be fined if they failed to complete the installation, the reponse given showed me that the real concern that the power companies have is that they could have their license cancelled by the Govt and that “there were only five licenses in Victoria”. He did not seem to want to proceed any more deeper into the conversation. He did ask if I had considered going away somewhere to see if the head pain situation resolved but I told him that as I am a carer I cannot leave where I am, that I am stuck in this nightmare. He wished me all the best with my head pain situation and I told him that really, every single smart meter that has been installed needs to be ripped out and done away with. He told me “it’s not going to happen” as his company’s rollout is already “70% complete” but again wished me the best and it was clear that the conversation wouldn’t go any further. As for the family member that just passed away for no apparent reason, there is a bit of a history of similar deaths in the family, but yes there was a smart meter installed in this person’s home. I cannot say or prove that the smart meter caused this particular person’s death but there are many unexplained deaths and we have heard on this website about the increase in people having heart attacks having some attributability to the presence of smart meters that have been installed. It is valid to ask the question just what part smart meters have played in the increased number of unexplained sudden deaths and I personally believe that smart meters can and have played a part in cases of such sudden deaths. This chap’s words makes it sound like the fight is unsurmountable but I believe the fight is not unsurmountable. I believe that the distribution companies can be sued regardless of the government mandate and that people such as Ted Baillieu can be brought to account for these crimes in a way that will be much much greater than just the mere loss of a state election (two years down the track). There is going to be a way that will emerge to crack this thing right open such that they who thought that they were untouchable are going to be brought to their knees.

  6. Peter says:

    With regard to the Broadmeadows letter/response, well done in asking the questions, I am surprised that you even got a reply! However, the reply you did get is the same old run around. The ESC is responsible for ‘managing’ this rollout on behalf of the governments ‘mandate’. They agree that the behaviour is not acceptable, but only advise complaining to the EWOV, who can do nothing about the legislation, but the ESC can, and should. Keep up the pressure on the body that can do something, the ESC!!!!!!!!!

    maintain the rage! (ten more months to complete the Victorian rollout)!

    • tony says:

      mandate legislation act what is the act number,i cant find one. is it really legislation,please explane

      • Peter says:

        ‘The mandate’ is contained in Victoria Government Gazette NoS200 Tuesday 28th of August 2007 Sect 14.1 and can be found on the DPI web site.

      • Eric says:

        Tony, the mandate legislation that Peter has quoted you does not force you to have a smart meter. Ronald Tan is talking about a potential future scenario only ie. where further legislation could be introduced forcing you to have a smart meter. If you read the way Ronald has worded his post, you can see that there would have to be some effort involved just in “trying to change the law”.

  7. Brigitte says:

    To Carmela Leone`s plight:
    How about following it up with the contract law? We have a contract to have electricity delivered and we pay for what we used, for which purpose we got the analog meter. The proposed or effectively installed smart meter without your consent, means a breach of the contract you had (with the analog meter).
    If you want to follow up your complaint with legal advice, have the contract law examined. As far as I know there is such a thing as a contract without having it in writing..
    Maybe this is a more fruitful avenue. I would be interested myself in this option.

    • Philip Clark says:

      I agree, possibly through a class action based on the invasive nature of the data collection being a breach or unfair action within the contract. Some thoughts, who owns and controls the data showing your energy usage, can it be deleted at your request, can it be adjusted in the case of a faulty metre, how can these actions be confirmed? There is also the impact of increased EMR fields generated by the meters and there long term effect, would this be a failure to provide a safe service?

  8. Ross chamings says:

    Hi, my next door neighbor is having a ‘ smart meter’ installed.(I live in Wodonga in Victoria) I just asked the installer if these things cause house fires and his reply was; “I just iinstall them, mate and I don’t care if they do!” What sort of attittude is that!??

    • Informed choice says:

      Pathetic! Guess what – we are affected by neighbouring meters even if we ourselves don’t have one.

      • 1vimana1 says:

        Too Right pal.

      • Eric says:

        I have piercing pain in my head every day. I have been scanned and results are negative. All the neighboring properties around me have smart meters. Timing on pain onset coincides with the neighboring installations. Initially the meters were being run with wireless communications going on full throttle. I know this for a fact as I have a device that shows me the signals coming through my residence. It seems like now I am sensitized and am effected by all electromagnetic radiation including any wi-fi, cordless phones and airport radar that is pulsing through all the houses in suburbs near the airports. I have a problem going to other peoples houses which was never a problem before smart meters came along. I have a problem in the streets and some streets have pockets smothered with a cloud of EMR. Smart Meters seem to be the culprit catalyst that makes one sensitive to all forms of EMR, even those that were never an issue before. It is a terrible crime that has been commited by the Victorian State Government.

  9. Wendy says:

    Has New South Wales given customers the ‘opt out’ option?

    • Take the Power Back says:

      No I believe NSW is being very very very sneaky. They seem to be inviting people to take part in a trial to save on their power. And guess what, the trial includes having a smart meter installed. (then if they read the fine print on the letter – it says it will NOT BE REMOVED after the trial) AND because they have agreed to be part of the trial THEY HAVE CONSENTED!!!! to the installation. SO TO ALL IN NSW – THINK AND RESEARCH VERY CAREFULLY BEFORE AGREEING TO THE TRIAL.

    • 1vimana1 says:

      Phone a pal living in N.S.W.

  10. Take the Power Back says:

    Is it too hard for either the DPI or the Power Companies to just state the answers or don’t either of them know. Talk about passing the buck.
    Some of the letters being received from DPI are stating:
    Quote ” Given the responsibilities and authority of distributors as outlined above, your assertion of liablity for the group of entities collectively described as “Government” in your correspondence for the actions of the distributors in removing existing meters and installing smart meters is considered incorrect.”
    And this is a doozy ( passing the buck again ????) “Any concerns you have about the installation should be raised directly with the distrbution business by contacting them…”

    And the Power Companies are saying in their letters:
    “We encourage you to raise any further concerns you have relating to the Victorian Government policy for the implementation of Advanced Metering Infrastructure with the Department of Primary Industries.”
    Well I’ve got news for both of them. I, along with many others, am not having a smart meter installed on my home, despite all their fancy words and converting words like “best endeavours” to “legally obliged” – I am no lawyer, but in my interpretation these two do not mean the same thing.

    • Richard Leschen. says:

      Dear “Take Back the Power, ”
      You are so right, spot on.
      I got the continual run-around with all of these Gov’t Departments singing from the same Hymn Sheet. They are all just Duck Shoving the totally unsatisfactory information of these Now Proving To Be Dammed Dangerous Microwave Smart Meters ( not so smart electric meters ) back and forth to different areas, so one gets no satisfactory answers from any of them. Have you also noticed that when they give you an answer it is never a straight answer. I have never got a straight answer to any of my questions verbal or written, they just Chant Their Tired Mantras at me.

      All of these Foreign Owned Victorian Electric Power Companies are just as bad as they are so stupid as to argue with me. It does them no good as I have had my Electric Meter Box firmly padlocked with a hefty padlock and my Legal Australian Constitution No Trespass Signs firmly affixed to my Front Fence and taped to my Meter Box Lid. These Legal Signs by the High Court Of Australia and the Australian Constitution warn any would be trespassers including the SNEAKY SMART METER MAN THAT TRESPASSING ON MY PROPERTY WITHOUT MY WRITTEN PERMISSION will incur upon each person a $167,000.00 fine. As well as this all these Legal Signs so posted have been photographed for any COURT APPEARANCE I may have to make in future. I have also sent Registered Letters to a Mr Shane Breheny the Chief Executive Officer…..C.E.O of PowerCor stating that I refuse to accept a Dopy Dangerous Smart Meter at any time as I consider from deep research over the last fourteen months that these machines constitute a real health problem for me i.e. as many people in Victoria and worldwide are complaining of Tinnitus or ringing in the ears, to severe and constant headaches to tingling in the limbs and or joints, to sever palpitations of the heart to chronic sleeplessness etc. There is also the real damage that has been done to peoples’ electrical appliances as well i.e. one’s Fridge and or Washing Machine and or Computers and or Printers and or Fax Machines and or Clothes Dryers etc.

      Both the DPI and the five Foreign Owned Victorian Electric Power Companies keep arguing that it is Mandated that every Victorian Home Owner and Small business must take a Smart Meter. This Statement of theirs is A LIE. It is only ” An Order In Council Edict, I Stress That It Is NOT THE LAW. For it to be LAW it must go before both houses of the Victorian Parliament and be discussed and then passes by both these upper and lower houses. The truth of the matter is simply this that back in 2005 when the Victorian Labor Government was in power under the then Premier of Victoria Mr John Brumby, he well knew that he had very little hope of ever getting such a DAMMED STUPID LAW passed in both the upper and lower houses of the Victorian Parliament, so he tried to do a Clever Trick which has actually Back-Fired in his face. He and three or four or more of his Cohorts and the then Governor of Victoria as well as the Sneaky Chief Executive Officers of each of these five Foreign Owned Victorian Electric Power Companies all got their heads together and had a little Tea Party of their own to try and make up a set of Rules with which they could claw even more money off an already Cash Strapped Victorian Public by bringing in these now proving to be very dangerous Microwave Electric Smart Meters. Therefore when the Smart Meter Installer Man Calls at your home to attempt to force a potentially TRULY DANGEROUS Microwave Electric Smart Meter on your property after stealing the Proven to be and very Safe Analog Meter which you still have, just tell him that you refuse to take a Smart Meter under any circumstances and make sure that your Electric Meter Box which you own and not the Electric Power Company is securely padlocked and that your No Trespass Signs by the Constitution of Australia (1900- 1901 and still effective today are on your front fence and on your meter box.
      When the Smart Meter Man called on me to replace my very safe and proven Analog Meter with the Dopy Microwave Smart Meter I simply demanded politely that he read the No Trespass Sign very carefully, which he did. Then after he had stated the following expletive……” S**T Mate, I’m not putting a B****Y Smart Meter on your property !” he tucked the Smart Meter under his arm and walked down the road.

  11. Carmela Leone says:

    I have asked for my Smart Meter to be removed on a number of occasions and I have been told that I have to accept it. I have just written to Powercor asking them to clarify my position in light of the point from the ESC – ‘Telling the customer that they have to accept installation’.

    My view is that I should be entitled to the same rights as people who have locked their boxes.

    • Terry says:

      Carmela, I truly sympathise with people who have had the wretched things installed already. It is a thousand times easier stopping them than it is trying to get the mongrels to take them out! To be honest I don’t know exactly what I would do if I was in your situation. I cannot think of any option other than class action. I reckon the ONLY way people will get them to actually replace a smart meter with the old style analogue meter is to FORCE THEM through the legal system. I am keen to hear the thoughts of others on this.

      • Carmela Leone says:

        Thanks Terry,
        My argument is that if people who are refusing to have a smart meter are not being charged with a crime for resisting installation, then it is not law that everyone has to have one and I want mine removed. I have written numerous letters to Powercor and to the DPI and I am not giving up!
        I see that the signs saying NO CONSENT are being adhered to by the installers, then I have the same right as people with locked boxes. I offered no consent and I want the Smart Meter removed. Either it is law to have them or it isn’t. If it isn’t law, then I will fight until I have an analog meter in my meter box.
        I will seek legal advice in the coming weeks.

        • Ryan says:

          Carmela, Rather than concentrating all your energy on such things as why citizens are not being charged for defending our rights to prevent having these meters installed, you might be better trying some other strategy rather than what appears to be attacking those who have so far defended their homes from these dangerous devices, maybe a different approach may get you further in your plight to have your smart meter removed, such as why you really want it removed, it may get you further than using others in your argument..

          • Carmela Leone says:

            Hi Ryan,

            I have used every argument I know in all my many letters, with links to information and videos. I have said that I don’t want microwave radiation emitting through my house to which the response has been that the level of radiation is safe. I have said to my power company that they have no right to install an surveillance device to which they have replied that Smart Meters are not surveillance devices. I have said to them that I did not consent to a Smart Meter and that someone trespassed onto my property to install the one, to which they replied that they have a right to access to their meter. I have raised concerns about fires to which the power company has assured me of the safety of their Smart Meter.
            I was not fast enough to lock my meter box, I don’t have any leverage in this fight but that which those who have locked their meter boxes use. Having a Smart Meter makes my fight more difficult of course, but it shouldn’t if we are all equal and hold the same rights. This is my argument, that I have the same rights to object to, to protest and refuse the installation of a Smart Meter as anyone who has locked their meter box. My intention is not to draw attention to those people who have locked their meter boxes, but to draw attention to my situation and the rights I have that are being denied me, all because I did not lock my meter box.
            I hope this clarifies my argument.

            • Ryan says:

              I dont know what rights you speak of, those of us with locked meter boxes are being continually harassed, some of us have been threatened to remove the notices and locks or else, you think this is a special right we have that you dont ??? we have no rights at all, I hope you get your smart meter removed but also wish you would stop making comparisons about rights, who has any rights in this horrible situation? inevitably we will all be most likely forced to remove our locks and be in the same position as you.

              • Carmela Leone says:

                I’m sorry to hear that you have been continually harassed, I hope the EWOV can help you with that.

            • Vickie says:

              Just out of interest did you have any notices on your meter box Carmela?

              • Carmela Leone says:

                No, I didn’t Vicki. I was too late.

                • Kathleen says:

                  Not that I want it, but there are been no harassment from anyone at this stage re our refusal of a smart meter. Being only 10 minutes from the outskirts of Geelong, it’s not as though we’re totally out in the sticks. Seems some power companies are more aggressive than others and is our tsunami about to break?

                  • 1vimana1 says:

                    Aren’t you lucky Kathleen, most people are being bullied and harassed as was I.
                    I sent them packing though, by showing them my Legal Anti-harassment signs and the Legal $167,000:00 fine for trespassing etc. Just hope it keeps working for me.

                  • Tanya says:

                    Kathleen, like you, as a Powercor cutomer, I have found Powercor to be less bullying than distributors such as Jemena. Nevertheless, Powercor has been callously indifferent to my claims of health problems from neighbours’ smart meters.

  12. Carmela Leone says:

    So… the law does not entitle any customer to ‘opt out’? Does anyone have the wording of that [so called] law?

    • Take the Power Back says:

      Search for Government Gazette S 200 and you will be able to read the Order in Council re Smart meters.

    • 1vimana1 says:

      Dear Carmel,
      There is now LAW forcing one to accept these now Proven To Be Deadly Microwave Smart Metres. It is all just BLUSTER and Bullying. I know because Powercor Core cannot find such stupid Law. The only thing they can say is this, from the Victorian Electricity Act….2000-2007 which is that ….The Victorian Electrical Act 2000 Section 46 D and the Victorian Gazette No. S200 dated 28th August 2007

      Click to access AMIOIC.pdf

      which states the following …………..
      Page 16. Clause 14 Remotely read interval meter rollout.
      14.1 Rollout period
      (a) Subject to clause 14.3, each distributor must use its best endeavours to install a
      remotely read interval meter (which is operational as a remotely read interval meter
      in accordance with the functionality, distributor performance levels and distributor
      service levels set out in a further Order in Council to be made under section 46D
      of the Act) for all of the metering installations for customers with annual electricity
      consumption of 160MWh or less for which it is the responsible person on the End
      Date by that date.

      (b) If a distributor has not installed a remotely read interval meter for all of the metering
      installations for customers with annual electricity consumption of 160MWh or less for
      which it is the responsible person by the End Date, then, for the purpose of considering
      whether the distributor has used its best endeavours to do so, the Commission must
      take into account:

      (i) the distributor’s actions in relation to the risk of failing to install the relevant
      meters, including whether the distributor has failed to take any action that could
      reasonably have been taken to mitigate that risk and whether the distributor has
      taken or omitted to take any action which has increased that risk;(ii) the distributor’s decisions and actions relevant to meeting the requirements of clause 14.1(a) in light of the information that was available to the distributor at the time those decisions and actions were taken; and (iii) any other factors the Commission considers relevant.14.2 Rollout schedule (a) By the commencement of each regulatory year set out in the schedule to this Order, each distributor must forecast the number of metering intallations for customers with annual electricity consumption of 160MWh or less for which it will be the responsible person on the End Date, and provide this forecast to the Commission.
      (b) Subject to clause 14.3, each distributor must use its best endeavours to install, by the end of each regulatory year set out in the schedule, the number of remotely read interval meters (each of which is operated as a remotely read interval meter in accordance with the functionality, distributor performance levels and distributor service levels set out in a further Order in Council to be made under section 46D of the Act) specified to be installed by the end of each regulatory year in the schedule.
      ” Now this is very different from what Powercor and the rest of the other Electricity Power Companies have been telling me as well that the DPI and the Victorian Ombudsman’s Department etc that ” It is the Law that home owners and small business are legally obliged to allow a Smart Meter to be installed on their properties. ” Now this proves to me that these people are all LIARS ! And just as important is the fact that one can see, reading between the LINES that the Electric Power Companies Contractors or those Smart Meter Installer Men are under great pressure to get as many meters onto home and small business properties as possible in the shortest of time. This smacks to my mind of High Pressure Salesmanship with out any due care of responsibility for customers feelings as to whether people want a Smart Meter or not.

      This a most disgusting attitude to take towards any customer or customers now that I know and they the C.E.O’ s of these Electric Power Companies must know by now just how unpopular many of these Smart Meters are with a propensity to cause fires not only in customers’ Electric Meter Boxes but to also in many cases these Smart Meters are starting fires in customers’ electrical goods, and to the added fact that these meters are upsetting so many peoples health with their dangerous VHF Radio Transmitting Frequencies which are used to communicate with the high transmission receiving and broadcasting towers now so prevalent and still growing in profusion all over the Earth.

      This is the ammunition above which you all need to help fight off these Money-Grubbing Electric Power Companies. So you see these IDIOTS have no Legal or Binding Contract with us their Customers. We did not agree to sign any contract with these people for any Microwave so-called Smart Meter/s at any time, so we are not obliged In LAW to accept a Microwave so-called by now proving to be Deadly Incendiary Microwave Smart -Arsed Life threatening Smart Meter, so they can go and stick their Smart Meters where the Sun Never Shines.


      • Eric says:

        I believe wording of 1vimana1’s post has a critical typing error and should be corrected with the word “now” actually intended to be the word “NO”…… this…….

        Dear Carmel,
        There is NO LAW forcing one to accept these now Proven To Be Deadly Microwave Smart Metres. It is all just BLUSTER and Bullying. I know because Powercor Core cannot find such stupid Law.

    • Peter says:

      Carmela, the ‘no opt out’ law as such does not exist, they are refering to legislation such as the Electricity Customer Metering Code, 2.1 and 2.2, access and ownership of the meter.

      As for ownership, the old analogue meter was a ‘public asset’, therefore paid for and owned by the people of Victoria. The distributors claim to have bought these assets from the Victorian government when they sold off all the Victorian public assets. If these devices did not belong to the Victorian government, did the distributors knowingly buy stolen goods?

  13. Kathleen says:

    Haven’t encountered any bullying/harassment from the power provider and have seen neither hide nor hair of any representative since turning away the installer 10 days ago. The DPI sent a stock standard reply to the “Notice of Prohibition of Undue Harassment” we sent to them, but Powercor’s was more personalized/signed and says ” we believe Powercor has already provided the legal basis on which it is entitled to access your premises for the purposes of installing a smart meter. We remind you that the law does not entitle any customer to ‘opt out’ of having a smart meter installed at their premises.” We are directed to deal with the Department of Primary Industries as the program is a Vic. Gov. intiative.
    Can anyone suggest a move on our part and to whom should we direct contact?

    • Terry says:

      Ask for chapter and verse of the law which does not allow the customer to opt out. You say you haven’t encountered any bullying, but with due respect, Kathleen, that in itself is bullying. They are lying. There is no legal imperative WHATSOEVER for you to accept a smart meter. Therefore to opt out is an unwritten given. Until this bunch of criminals puts something in place to force and coerce us – and they most likely will – you just keep saying no and keep your meter box securely locked. It is important though, to realise you do have an obligation to make it accessible for reading. I would suggest a window in the box for this.

      At this stage, according to the laws currently in place, the problem is THEIRS. They must use their best endeavours. That’s it. If the time comes and they change the laws to force us to have a smart meter installed, that is when we need to come up with a plan B. But for now plan A is simple. Just say NO and physically obstruct the meter so they can read it but not change it.

      If you do encounter anything that YOU consider to be bullying, we have been told what to do – go to EWOV.

      • Kathleen says:

        Thanks for that Terry. We do have our meter box locked, signage in place and a window provided for readings. We have no intention of budging on this issue (unless the very heavy artillery is brought! e.g law revamp) and will follow your advice.

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