A CAMPAIGN to stop the local Smart Meter roll-out, amid claims of safety concerns, is gaining traction in Churchill.
Electricity distributor SP AusNet has advised it is currently rolling out smart meters in the Latrobe Valley in an effort to “help meet Victoria’s changing energy needs”.
The company said Energy Safe Victoria had confirmed smart meters were safe and did not pose “any greater safety risk” than existing electronic or electromechanical meters.
That information has done little to dispel concerns in Churchill, where the rollout has commenced.
Last Friday, more than 100 people attended a Smart Meter Forum in Churchill, organised by the Churchill Stop Smart Meters Action Group.
Chairperson Trevor Bridges said several speakers outlined the potential risks of smart meters, including a man who said his family had developed serious health problems when a smart meter was installed on his neighbour’s house, opposite their bedrooms.
Mr Bridges said three to four per cent of the population were sensitive to radio frequencies, which meant in Churchill there could be 141 radio sensitive people and in Traralgon the number could be as high as 660.
“A smart meter on their properties could be a real health problem for them,” he added.
Those at the meeting voted to support the right of customers to refuse installation of smart meters and to have their decision respected by electrical distributors.
It called on the State Government to allow customers the right to “opt out” of the smart meter program and it agreed those who experienced health problems considered to be caused by the smart meters should have them removed “and replaced with analogue or non wireless meter”.
The forum also discussed concerns about the program’s escalating costs and billing problems, according to Mr Bridges.
He said the action group would appeal to State Premier Ted Baillieu and State Energy Minister Michael O’Brien asking them to meet with community representatives over their concerns.