NSW Smart Meter Taskforce Discussion Paper | Have Your Say

The NSW Government recognises the burden that increasing power bills are placing on households and is working hard to reduce the impact of those price rises.

As part of our plans to slow upward pressure on electricity prices, the NSW Government is keen for customers to have more control over their energy use. The Minister for Resources and Energy, Chris Hartcher, established a Smart Meter Task Force to provide advice to the Government on a range of consumer focused options for the potential introduction of smart meters in NSW.

Have your say Click Here NSW Smart Meter Taskforce Discussion Paper | NSW Have Your Say.

 

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26 Responses to NSW Smart Meter Taskforce Discussion Paper | Have Your Say

  1. Andrew Zag says:

    My experience: living in Victoria at the time, we had smart meters installed surreptitiously one day and my electricity invoicing through Energy Australia has been a shambles ever since.

    As with other submissions here, with just my partner and I living a very quiet and sedentary existence, my usage was steady if not down but my bills just went up and up beyond what I thought was the set rate increases. Then, as of October 2012, we simply stopped getting invoices. I queried the last invoice we received as it seemed outrageously inflated. I was told by the Energy Australia representative that “they cannot remotely check meter readings to confirm their accuracy because it wouldn’t be possible to do so until such a time as ALL meters in Victoria were smart meters … and this was unlikely to ever be the case” – her words., She continued to tell me that if I wanted the meter re-read, I would have to pay a $25 fee, though I would still have no way to verify if the reading had been done at all and what the reading was. After mentioning the fact that nothing on the meter itself correlated with any figures on my invoice, I was told that “only the meter readers can access the relevant information from the meters as one needs a handheld computer device not available to anyone outside the energy companies”. To top it off, I noticed that the time on my meter did not adjust for daylight saving, thereby making peak and off-peak reading inaccurate.

    In August this year (2013) I moved back to NSW and last week, almost a year after getting my last invoice, I received nine months of invoices in one hit – all due in less than a week. Even though when I moved back to NSW I stayed with Energy Australia, they still posted all the Victoria address invoices to my old Victorian address, which took another 10 days approximately to be redirected up here to NSW. These three invoices made no sense whatsoever. There was a disconnection fee from early 2012, even though my supply was NEVER disconnected and I’ve paid on time for 25+ years. It took three hours of head-scratching to try and figure out what the hell they’d done with the bills, now totalling over $1600. Eventually I noticed that six months charges had been duplicated, coupled with other random calculations that beggered belief.

    After calling Energy Australia, I was dealt with by a gruff and impatient customer service rep who essentially told me, in a very glib, matter-of-fact way that “it looks like I’ve been double-billed for a long period and to leave it with him and they’ll re-issue invoices”. I tried to press him a bit more on when the invoices will be reissued and whether it will go to the right address, that my current due balance – whatever that may be – would be suspended until the correct amounts are calculated and that finally, the invoices will go to my current NSW address. All queries were gruffly dealt with … kind of … and he couldn’t get me off the phone quickly enough. So, the saga continues, for the moment. More stress and anxiety to come, I suspect.

    Oh for the good old days where there was one supplier, bills were fairly consistent and understandable and there were people who had jobs as meter readers. In 25+ years I never had problems with or queried a single bill. Now, every bill that arrives seems to rise disproportionally and demand scrutiny and questioning. The smart meters seem to bring no tangible benefit to the average householder and I suspect very few people want to examine usage and timing every moment they use power. Smart meters, like Myki ticketing, road tolls, etags and all the other hi-tech devices, they seem to me a system for companies to make a lot of money in the guise of ‘improving our experience and bringing more choice and benefits to us, the consumers’. In a nutshell, we’re being scammed again!

  2. ron huisman says:

    ON NO ACCOUNT WILL ANYONE BE PERMITTED TO INSTALL ONE OF THESE COMMUNIST “smart” METRES ONTO OUR PROPERTY…..
    EVER !

  3. Pam Webster says:

    I live in south western Sydney and the residence had an electronic/interval/smart meter when I moved in. I have adjusted my electricity usage to gain the benefit of shoulder and off peak rates but there are still times when I have to use power during peak time of 2 to 8pm. My bills keep going up and my overall usage has gone down. I was shocked by my last bill which increased 57% over the same period for the previous year and for less usage. So I analysed each charge. My supply charge had risen 85% in the current quarter. I am now paying $1.33 plus GST per day for supply because of this so called “smart meter” which is manually read each quarter. If I had a standard meter I am told by my energy supplier that the rate would be $.628 per day. That is an additional charge of $282 per annum for the inconvenience of monitoring my energy use. The usage costs have not gone down in spite of the daily monitoring of when I use power.

    • Informed Choice says:

      Gosh Pam, that is definitely a high premium to pay for the ‘convenience’ of time of use billing – does not make any sense and you are being ripped off, like many others with smart(dumb!) meters.

      • Pam says:

        Pam – Query this account. Personally I just wouldn’t pay it and tell them Why – Go to your Local Paper and tell them your story and details of all those additional high charges that the darn smart meter is costing you. You will probably find there are many many others in the same boat. If worst comes to the worst apply for a Utility Relief Grant. Look on the back of your account and you will find all the details there under Financial Hardship. Good Luck and let us all know how you get on …………………………Cheers Pam (lol same name) 🙂

  4. streetsunset@yahoo.com.au says:

    i filled it all out but when i go to submit – i just get message saying- internet Explorer cannot display the webpage! so frustrating. i dont know what else to do. my internet connection is fine. feel like i just wasted an hour as it wont submit! hope you are well

    ________________________________

  5. ingrid says:

    Hi. I found plenty of opportunities to say – why no mention of educating the people about the health effects, why no radiation experts included as stakeholders. I said S.M.’s should be optional not mandatory.
    In the Discussion Paper it does say an option put forward by the task force is for a ‘Market Led’ choice and that that would be better – ie opt in or opt out.
    I also told them you need advanced literacy skills to understand the questions.
    The Task force says the compulsory Time of Use function was detrimental to the Victorian roll out.

    • Anonymous says:

      As a Victorian, I’m yet to see the benefit of smart meters. I don’t get the option of off-peak or on-peak, they still do a manual meter read, so I don’t understand what the benefit is to anyone apart from those who are selling them.

    • Eric says:

      It’s inappropriate to have an opt-in option for a device causing any harmful health effect especially if it affects even one single person other than the person that has the device. Wireless smart meters undoubtably are causing harmful health effects right now in Victorians and the only option for such insidious devices is that they be henceforth banned…..no other option.

  6. PeterBDunn says:

    http://peterbdunn.wordpress.com/2012/11/27/smart-meters-corporate-thuggery/

    On January 19, 2012, The American Academy of Environmental Medicine, a group of esteemed doctors put out a press release:
    “The Board of the AAEM opposes the installation of smart meters in homes and schools based on scientific assessment of the current medical literature. The current medical literature raises credible questions about genetic and cellular effects, hormonal effects, male fertility, blood/brain barrier damage and increased risk of certain types of cancers from RF or ELF levels similar to those emitted from smart meters. The Board of AAEM finds it unacceptable from a public health standpoint to implement this technology until these serious medical concerns are resolved. We consider a moratorium on installation of wireless smart meters to be an issue of the highest importance.”
    Dr. Magda Havas, Assoc. Prof. of Environmental Resource Studies at Trent University (Canada) who does research on the biological effects of electromagnetic radiation has served as an expert witness in both Canada and the U.S. regarding health effects associated with electromagnetic exposure wrote on October 12, 2010 that growing numbers in population are experiencing severe migraines, fatigue, weakness, inability to make decisions, loss of hair, pain in muscles and in the heart region, breathlessness, sexual problems and even a decrease in lactation in nursing mothers.
    Olle Johansson, Assoc. Prof. Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden, wrote to the California Public Utilities Commission, July 9, 2011:
    “Many smart meters are close to beds, kitchens, playrooms and similar locations. These wireless systems are never off, and the exposure is not voluntary.
    “…It is becoming more and more obvious that the exposure to electromagnetic fields may result in highly unwanted health effects. This has been demonstrated in a very large number of studies and includes cellular DNA-damage (which may lead to an initiation of cancer as well as mutations that carry down generations), disruptions and alterations of cellular functions like increases in intracellular stimulatory pathways and calcium handling, disruption of tissue structures like the blood-brain barrier.”
    Elihu D. Richter MD, MPH (Assoc Professor), Hebrew University-Hadassah, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, Unit of Occupations and Environmental Medicine to Susan Hackwood, Ph.D., Executive Director, California Council on Science and Technology. Letter of Comment on Smart Meter Report:
    “The risks we are assessing today from exposure to RFMW and dirty electricity from Smart Meters placed everywhere recalls the story of population-wide exposure to lead in gasoline. We now know, in retrospect, that the entire urban population, notably children, were receiving exposures which were impairing their IQ, emotional well being, and long term growth and development. These findings led to the elimination of lead from gasoline. In retrospect, we were not heeding the early warnings regarding an impending population-wide hazard with disastrous effects. I suggest that in the case of population-wide exposure to RF, the situation is similar, with one exception: The warnings may no longer be early. I warn that we may be on the cusp of a similar scenario here with regard to community wide exposures to RF/MW and dirty electricity from Smart Meters.”
    In the paper Overloading of Towns and Cities with Radio Transmitters: A hazard for the human health and disturbance of eco-ethics, by Karl Hecht, Elena N. Savoley, IRCHET International Research Center of Healthy and Ecological Technology in Berlin, Germany, listed under the heading: Essential Findings after Long-Term EMF-(EF-)Effect, their objectively gathered findings were:
    “neurasthenia, neurotic symptoms, EEG changes (decay of the alpha rhythm into the theta rhythm and isolated delta rhythm), sleep disorders, deformation of the biologic rhythm hierarchy, disorder in the hypothalamohypophyseal adrenal cortex system, arterial hypotonia, more rarely arterial hypertonia, bradycardia, or tachycardia, vagotonic displacement of the cardiovascular system, increased susceptibility to infection, hyperfunction of the thyroid, potency disorders.
    “System Subjective Complaints: exhaustion, lack of energy, daytime tiredness, quick tiring under stress, constriction of physical and mental ability, concentration and memory decline, cardiac pain, heart racing, weakness of concentration, headaches, lightheadedness.”
    Also, from the cited paper above:
    “Animals and plants are also very negatively influenced by this high-frequency electromagnetic radiation. In the case of cows, reduction of the milk yield and malformed offspring have been proven. Graver for humankind could be the death of bees observed everywhere due to the electro-smog contaminated environment. When the bees are dead, people not only have no more honey, but also no more fruit, because pollination of the flowers is impossible without bees. Humankind stands today before an important decision.”
    Comments on California Council on Science and Technology’s Smart Meter Report, January 2011, Nancy Evans, Health Science Consultant, San Francisco. United States District Court – District of Oregon – Portland Division – June 2011:
    “This report ignores a fundamental public health principle: prevention of harm through a precautionary approach, based on evidence of harm rather than absolute proof of harm. CCST dismissed the substantial body of evidence indicating that non-thermal effects of radiofrequency radiation (RF) are real and include cancer as well as neurological effects. There are no federal standards for RF exposure based on long-term, chronic exposure or on non-thermal effects, precisely the type of exposure from smart meters and the most likely to cause human health effects. This report also fails to consider the total exposure to RF, which has increased exponentially because of cell phone antennas and broadcast towers. Wi-Fi networks blanket entire neighborhoods and cities as well as homes, schools, cafes and stadiums. Smart meters add one more layer of involuntary chronic exposure to RF.
    “It is misleading to compare smart meters to cell phones and other wireless devices that are used voluntarily and that some people choose not to use because of the potential health effects. Mandating wireless smart meters in homes is radiation without representation: an infringement of personal and property rights.”
    Sworn Declaration of Dr. David O. Carpenter, M.D., Director, Institute for Health and the Environment, University at Albany and Professor of Environmental Health Sciences within the School of Public Health. Formerly Dean of the School of Public Health at the University of Albany and Director of the Wadsworth Center for Laboratories and Research of the New York State Department of Health. United States District Court – District of Oregon – Portland Division – June 2011:
    “Exposure to EMF has been linked to a variety of adverse health outcomes. The health endpoints that have been reported to be associated with ELF and/or RF include childhood leukemia, adult brain tumors, childhood brain tumors, genotoxic effects (DNA damage and micronucleation), neurological effects and neurodegenerative disease (like ALS and Alzheimer’s), immune system disregulation, allergic and inflammatory responses, breast cancer in men and women, miscarriage and some cardiovascular effects. The strongest evidence for adverse health effects of EMFs comes from associations observed in human populations with two forms of cancer: childhood leukemia and chronic lymphocytic leukemia in occupationally exposed adults.
    “There is suggestive to strongly suggestive evidence that RF exposures may cause changes in cell membrane function, cell communication, metabolism, activation of protooncogenes, and can trigger the production of stress proteins at exposure levels below current regulatory limits. Resulting effects can include DNA breaks and chromosome aberrations, cell death including death of brain neurons, increased free radical production, activation of the endogenous opioid system, cell stress and premature aging, changes in brain function including memory loss, retarded learning, performance impairment in children, headaches and fatigue, sleep disorders, neurodegenerative conditions, changes in immune function (allergic and inflammatory responses), reduction in melatonin secretion and cancers.”
    Same Lawsuit; Portland Public Schools; Sworn Amended Declaration of Curtis Bennett, an expert witness for the Canadian Parliament on the dangers of Wi-Fi and Smart Meter Frequencies:
    “Governments and taxpayers are funding health costs, wireless technologies are contradicting those objectives.”
    Addendum – Assessment of Radiofrequency Microwave Radiation Emission from Silver Springs OWS-NIC514 – Model Wireless Electric Meter – February 18, 2001 Assessment of Radiofrequency Microwave Radiation Emissions from Smart Meters – January 1, 2011:
    “Consumers may also have already increased their exposures to radiofrequency radiation in the home through the voluntary use of wireless devices (cell and cordless phones), PDAs like BlackBerry and iPhones, wireless routers for wireless internet access, wireless home security systems, wireless baby surveillance (baby monitors), and other emerging wireless applications. Neither the FCC, the CPUC, the utility nor the consumer know what portion of the allowable public safety limit is already being used up or pre-empted by RF from other sources already present in the particular location a smart meter may be installed and operated.
    “Consumers, for whatever personal reason, choice or necessity who have already eliminated all possible wireless exposures from their property and lives, may now face excessively high RF exposures in their homes from smart meters on a 24-hour basis. People who are afforded special protection under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act are not sufficiently acknowledged nor protected. People who have medical and/or metal implants or other conditions rendering them vulnerable to health risks at lower levels than FCC RF limits may be particularly at risk (Tables 30-31). This is also likely to hold true for other subgroups, like children and people who are ill or taking medications, or are elderly, for they have different reactions to pulsed RF. Children’s’ tissues absorb RF differently and can absorb more RF than adults.
    “Safety standards for peak exposure limits to radio frequency have not been developed to take into account the particular sensitivity of the eyes, testes and other ball shaped organs. There are no peak power limits defined for the eyes and testes, and it is not unreasonable to imagine situations where either of these organs comes into close contact with smart meters and/or collector meters, particularly where they are installed in multiples (on walls of multi-family dwellings that are accessible as common areas). In summary, no positive assertion of safety can be made by the FCC, nor relied upon by the CPUC, with respect to pulsed RF when exposures are chronic and occur in the general population. Indiscriminate exposure to environmentally ubiquitous pulsed RF from the rollout of millions of new RF sources (smart meters) will mean far greater general population exposures, and potential health consequences.”
    Data pirates have been known to intercept and mine data from the smart meters’ transmissions and market that data, all at the expense of the consumer’s privacy. Criminals could, as well, use intercepted or hacked smart meter data to determine when consumers are at home or away from home, the consumers unwittingly broadcasting to burglars and thieves when the “coast is clear”. Utility companies can read everything going on in your home 24/7. New appliances are being sold with sensors making it easier for utility companies to spy on your lifestyle. Those meters are the equivalent of warrantless wiretaps. Experts in security have already demonstrated how easy it is to hack into a ‘smart’ meter.

    • Pam says:

      Peter – Thanks you so much for all this information. It reinforces everything that we know about these darn things. Victoria is a jump ahead of the rest of Australia – they have used us as guinea pigs for too bloody long. Beginning to wonder if Victoria is still part of Australia. This Website keeps us up-to-date thank goodness. I WILL NEVER HAVE A SMART METER AT ANY COST – MY BOX IS STAYING LOCKED AND MY SIGNS DISPLAYED AND I HAVE A SOLICITOR ACTING ON MY BEHALF………………CHEERS PAM 🙂

  7. Freddie says:

    The NSW government is very misinformed if it believes that smart meters can slow upward pressures on electricity prices. Smart meters and their installation are expensive, especially so if the roll-out is ‘mandated’. The establishment and maintainance of the wireless infrastructure that enables the smart grid to function commits the whole state to higher costs now and into the future. The wireless smart grid is the ULTIMATE FORM OF GOLD PLATING. Introduction of time of use tariffs DOES NOT require so called smart meters. It only necessitates the use of (non-wireless) electronic meters, which are already used Australia wide (they still need to be read by a meter reader), or simply the addition of a ‘time switch’ to the old analogue meter. Smart meter roll-outs WILL RESULT IN HIGHER COSTS. THEY ARE AN UNTESTED, YET ALREADY OBSOLETE TECHNOLOGY, THAT IS NOT NEEDED – PEOPLE ARE NOT STUPID, THEY WILL QUICKLY WORK IT OUT.

  8. Cedar Wilde says:

    When will governments take heed of people’s concerns BEFORE there is massive damage instead of waiting till after what has been foretold happens? (Asbestos, cigarettes, destruction of the environment etc)

    • Pam says:

      CEDAR – THEY COULDN’T GIVE A STUFF ABOUT ANY OF US. THEY THINK WE WILL GET SICK OF IT AND GIVE IN. WELL THEY ARE NUTS TO BELIEVE WE WILL – WE ARE TOO STRONG. – NO SMART METER FOR ME EVER, SIMPLE AS THAT. CHEERS PAM 🙂

  9. Cedar Wilde says:

    Taskforce huh? Judging by the questions posed it is just an exercise in promoting “Smart” meters. They think if they can find out our concerns about them they can then think up counter arguments.Why don’t they just read this site and then they’d know what we think? We are really primarily concerned about the health issues, although other factors certainly come into it, cost, privacy, safety etc. We CAN regulate our own electricity usage and do not need some life-threatening device to do it for us!! I have heard also that it is possible to have a kind of “Smart meter” (not a radiating one) that is connected to the cabling we already have set up, (which would be safer for our health at least, if not for our budgets).

  10. Kath says:

    Same old Governmental rhetoric – ‘Lets curry favour by appearing to give customers a say over their OWN ENERGY USE’!!! But what about customers having a say over WHETHER THEY WANT A SMARTMETER AT ALL? That is the more pertinent question, but will it ever be asked? THAT’S HIGHLY UNLIKELY – because the NSW Government knows it would be a resounding NO!! Their ‘Discussion Paper’ will be a joke and won’t address the real issues of the Smart grid such as public health, safety, and surveillance. The so called ‘Public Servants’ will be stage-managing the roll out to suit themselves. Victorian Consumers are one up on the Government’s tactics.

  11. Frances says:

    I refused to have a smart meter installed so I wrote to the office of the Victorian Premier, I might just as have not bothered. I got back a letter from one of his minions telling that having a Smart Meter is obligatory. On top of all that the Electricity company is gouging me for an extra $600 on top of my normal costs. I have contacted the Electricity Assistance and they will be reimbursing me $500 because I am an age pension for hardship.

    • Pam says:

      Frances – many people will be applying for thr Utility Relief Grant to pay their Utility accounts (I have) both Gas and Water at present and probably Electricity down the track. They can shove their SMART METERS UP you know where. My Solicitor STILL HAS NOT HAD A REPLY TO HIS LETTER TO POWER COR to place me on the rejection List. It was written weks ago. He told me yesterday that if I hear from them again I am to contact him immediately………………………..Just an on going saga..Cheers Pam 🙂

    • Carmen says:

      Don’t fall for their lies Frances, simply put a sturdy padlock on your meter box and stand your ground as many, many people here have already done. The No Trespassing sign actually does work in your favour- the installers will take photos of this as proof of your right to refuse. Just do it! Damn what government ‘dictactor types’ try to tell us as there is no law that says we must accept a smart meter at all.

  12. John Wilson says:

    hmmh! Taskforce? Who will be represented and what are the parameters set. Unless it involves a major component of the community then it will be nothing more than a talk fest biased to allowing the vested interests to control the outcomes.

  13. Lynda oliver says:

    Don’t be fooled! All they do will be giving total control to electricity distributors and put more hardship on family’s . Regulate your own usage yourself! You do not need someone to do it for you. Major health concerns why risk your health! Say No and opt out!

  14. Claire says:

    If the government or electricity companies think a radio active meter will make people change the way they use power then the government and electricity providers need to get out more. With the ridiculous prices we are being charged the power companies have done more to reduce the use of power than any meter will do. We either turn the appliance or light on because we have to or we don’t turn it on because we can’t afford it. Since when has any recent government or service provider done anything to help the consumer? These meters will actually harm us. Unfortunately time will prove Smart meters are not good for our health.

    • Sharron says:

      exactly Claire – the meters are already harming tens of thousands of Victorians who never asked for this kind of assault on their loved ones. These bureaucrats need to slither back into the snakeholes they came out from and treat us with the respect that we deserve, stop making it sound as though they are doing us all a favour and BUGGER OFF! We decide when and how we will use the power thankyou very much and they are advised to roll-back their ridiculous pricing so that Aussies get a fair deal for a change, that is all….NO SMART METER EVER!

    • Pam says:

      Claire – Agree with everything you have said. It’s the likes of our Grand Kids who will be suffering in years to come. No SMART METERS FOR ME. Hope this time next year they will be a thing of the past. I am keeping my annalogue meter at all costs. Cheers Pam 🙂

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