A SMART meter protest group has been formed following a packed public meeting in Frankston.
Organisers were only expecting about 30 people to attend the meeting at the Frankston Mechanics Institute Hall, but 130 turned up to voice concerns over the state government’s smart meter roll out.
Some residents of Frankston and the Mornington Peninsula believe the devices are causing poor health including headaches and ringing in the ears, with a few sleeping in vehicles, tents and workplaces to avoid symptoms.
Frankston councillor Glenn Aitken, who has thrown his support behind protesters, said those at the meeting came from as far away as Cockatoo, Monbulk and Elsternwick.
“I’ve dealt with people issues for a long enough to know that 99 per cent of the time there is a real reason for it. These people are genuinely not well,” he said.
An action group was started and Cr Aitken shared a letter which he is encouraging concerned people to send to the government and installers.
The letter formally withdraws consent for the installation of meters and states that any health and financial losses are the responsibility of parties involved in their installation.
Protesters will write to the state government asking that the roll out be discontinued or made optional and that meters are removed from the homes of those who believe they are ill as a result.
Cr Aitken confirmed he would raise a similar item at Frankston Council and push for a Victorian class action.
Last month, Energy Safe Victoria released a draft report which found that smart meters were safe and that there was no evidence the meters were exploding or causing fires. It attributed reported meter failures to criminal damage.
A United Energy spokesman told the Weekly that having a smart meter installed was compulsory and the roll out would be completed by the end of 2013.
The company would not disconnect electricity supplies of those refusing smart meter installation or cut locks placed on meter boxes by residents. Instead, a card would be left asking the resident to contact United Energy to discuss concerns.
“We’ll move on to the next house initially but if installation is looking unlikely in 2013 we will have to talk to the state government,” he said. “There is no penalty at this stage – we haven’t discussed penalties.”