CITY of Greater Dandenong is continuing a campaign against smart meters, despite legal advice that they can’t stop them from being installed.
At their Monday 25 February meeting, councillors agreed to find out what it would cost to have electromagnetic and radiation measurements taken at the five council sites with smart meters.
Paperbark Ward councillor Peter Brown moved the motion and asked for it to return to a council meeting no later than May.
“This is asking for a costing before we hit the go button,” he said.
Councillors also voted, by a narrow margin, for Mayor Angela Long to tell Energy Minister Michael O’Brien the council opposed smart meters “because of environmental and human health and safety concerns and supports the rights of residents to opt out of smart meter installation”.
The letter to Mr O’Brien will also ask him “to be guided by precautionary principles in his decision-making” and improve communication on the roll-out to Greater Dandenong residents and ratepayers.
Councillors received requests from residents to stop digital smart meter installation because of concerns about their health and safety impacts.
In September this prompted the council to formally register its opposition to smart meters and commit to supporting a proposed class action against the roll-out through the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV).
When this proposal was defeated, the council sought advice on running its own class action but was told it would be very expensive and unlikely to succeed.
So in December the council sought legal advice on its right to refuse smart meters on its property.
“Council is going to provide leadership in this matter,” Cr Brown said.
“Is this an electrical form of asbestos?”
But advice from solicitors was that the council could not opt out of the roll-out.
The distribution company is required to use its “best endeavours” to install smart meters and customers, including the council, must provide free and unrestricted access to metering equipment or risk having their electricity disconnected.
A Department of Primary Industries (DPI) spokesman said digital smart meters recorded electricity usage and automatically sent data to suppliers.
“Victorians can be confident that smart meters are safe, and Victoria’s chief health officer has confirmed this,” he said.
“The communications system associated with smart meters involves lower electromagnetic exposures than many other household devices, such as mobile phones and baby monitors.”
Do you support City of Greater Dandenong’s objection to the smart meter roll-out? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 5945 0666.