It has come to SSMA’s attention that Victorian power distributors are once again targeting residences that refused a smart meter during the 2009-2014 state-mandated rollout of advanced metering infrastructure (AMI).
Despite the Victorian government’s 2014 Order in Council stating, in the case of account holder refusal, that a distributor is not required to comply with the requirement that a remotely read interval meter must be installed until such time as “refusal is withdrawn or access to install a remotely read interval meter is otherwise available”, distributors continue in their attempts to sneak radiation-emitting infrastructure on to residences.
A ‘Notice of Meter Upgrade’ that was recently mailed to customers from United Energy states “We are advising you that a qualified meter technician will carry out the installation of the AMI meter at your property…”. At least this customer was given some forewarning. It has been reported that a customer in Powercor’s catchment area found her notice of refusal ripped off, and a smart meter installed.
AusNet Services customers can also expect to find their meters targeted – but for many of these customers it will be because the radiofrequency communications card in their WiMAX-networked smart meter has died. According to information referred to by the Australian Energy Regulator in its 2016 to 2020 determination for AusNet Services, these modules only have a design life of seven years, and the manufacturer had advised that “chipsets and other components used in the WiMAX communications modules are no longer available to purchase”. Consequently, AusNet Services has adopted “a reactive approach in which WiMAX hardware is replaced with mesh radio equivalents when a failure is observed”. This strategy might provide those AusNet Services customers who had the misfortune to have a WiMAX smart meter installed on their residence, and who haven’t yet had their meter converted, a window of opportunity to make sure their meter remains a much safer, non-communicating meter!