The Victorian government has decided that it will not transition to the new national smart meter rule until 2021. The new rule, which is intended to facilitate a market-led deployment of ‘advanced’ meters and metering competition, commences on 1 December in South Australia, Queensland, New South Wales, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory.
Delaying implementation of the new rule means that Victorians continue to lack the opt-out rights accorded to other consumers. Small customers (residential or business customers who consume energy below a specified threshold) in the jurisdictions which have adopted the new rule have the right to opt out of having their working meter replaced with a smart meter. In addition, even if these consumers are receiving a new meter for other reasons, the national rule provides that customers who have communicated their refusal in advance will be given a non-communicating smart meter.
The delay in transitioning to the national arrangements means that Victorians are continuing to be treated as second-class citizens.
Although the Victorian government didn’t technically take the step of making smart meters compulsory when it mandated its rollout of smart meters, it instead foisted on power distributors the obligation to use their ‘best endeavours’ to install smart meters at every residence and small business. This approach led to incidences of appalling abuse of human rights, and consumers being falsely told smart meters were mandatory and they had no choice but to accept them or face large fines or power cut-offs. All complete lies!
Some people were bullied by installers into accepting a smart meter. Other installers ignored and ripped down signs that stipulated that a smart meter was not to be installed. Power distributors blatantly sought to mislead consumers as to how often smart meters emitted microwave transmissions in a bid to lull consumers into accepting a smart meter. A number of Victorians took the drastic measure of staying home all day, too frightened to leave their homes, in case an installer came whilst they were out.
Why doesn’t the Victorian Labor government do the right thing and give all Victorians the right to have a non-communicating meter?
For previous posts on this issue, see:
To view the Financial Review’s story on Victoria’s decision to delay transitioning to the national rule, go to Victoria opts out of national rules on smart meters.