United Energy cut off Sofia Telemzouguer’s power for “health and safety” reasons after learning she had replaced the meter with an analog version.
But in what United Energy is calling a “unique and sensitive case”, it says it continues to work with her to resolve the situation.
She said she has been in a year-long battle with the energy provider after they installed the unit at her Cheltenham home without her consent in March last year.
But in October, Ms Telemzouguer, who says she has been diagnosed with electromagnetic hypersensitivity, removed the smart meter after she claimed it gave her headaches and caused severe skin irritation.
She started to feel better but contacted United Energy in February with an inquiry.
She said soon after, her power was cut off without any correspondence and she and her 14-year-old daughter Larissa were now living in darkness.
“I have to throw out any perishable food if we don’t eat it immediately and my daughter has to study by candlelight,” Ms Telemzouguer said.
“It’s very stressful (and) I don’t know what to do ‒ wherever I go it’s a stone wall.”
But United Energy spokesman Stuart Allott said, with the Energy and Water Ombudsman, they had been working with Ms Telemzouguer for months after she told them of her health concerns.
He said they tested the radiofrequency exposure limit, which was “well below” safe levels and offered to lower it further but that had been so far been rejected.
He said in February, they requested a meter inspection due to the inability to read it remotely and after finding out the meter was illegally removed, a defect notice was issued and an inquiry launched by Energy Safe Victoria.
“Due to health and safety concerns, supply was disconnected,” Mr Allott said.
He said the company had tried to reconnect the supply since March, but Ms Telemzouguer refused the installation of “our now standard digital meter”.
He said it was State Government policy that smart meters were the standard meters and they continued to work with the Ombudsman to resolve the issue.
EMR Australia director Lyn McLean, whose company produces shielding for electromagnetic radiation, said she received many calls from Melbourne residents wanting to shield themselves from smart meters.
She said her company often installed shielding, including special paint, fabric and window film which could eliminate 99 percent of all the radiation from the meter without impeding its function.
Troels Sommerville, Moorabbin Kingston Leader, April 16