Victoria’s Minister for Water evades questions about smart water meters

Stop Smart Meters Australia (SSMA) raised concerns last year about the rollout of smart water meters in Victoria in a letter to the Hon Lisa Neville, Minister for Water.  SSMA also posed a number of questions, on behalf of members and followers, to the Minister.

The Minister asked an Executive Director at the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) to reply on her behalf.  The response was emailed to SSMA on the eve of the 2018 Victorian State election.

The government’s reply fails to explain its role in the rollout of water smart meters, other than to state that “Victorian Government approval is required prior to any broad introduction of new digital water metering technology” and that the “Victorian Government is regularly briefed on the progress of digital meter trials, including customer feedback and business case considerations”.

This hands-off approach appears to be another case of déjà vu for long-suffering Victorian utility customers.

If the government had done its due diligence in the first place, Victorians would NEVER have been subjected to the mandated rollout of electricity smart meters to every household and small business. The cost-benefit justification for the rollout of electricity smart meters turned out to be little more than a Victorian Labor Government thought bubble.

Instead, Victorians have been burdened with increased costs as a result of the transition to electricity smart meters.  As reported in Deloitte’s 2011 report titled Advanced metering infrastructure cost benefit analysis, “Over 2008-28, the Victorian AMI Program will result in net costs to customers of $319 million [in 2008 dollars]”.  SSMA asks how much greater would these net costs be if the impact of adverse health effects arising from the rollout of smart meters were included?  And how much more would the net costs be if the benefits which were supposed to accrue as a result of the rollout (and, often, didn’t!) were to be revisited and verified?

The Victorian Auditor-General’s 2009 report slammed the government department overseeing Victoria’s ill-fated multibillion-dollar rollout of smart meters.  The report stated that “Given the significant uncertainty about the cost of AMI [advanced metering infrastructure] to both industry and consumers, as well as the nature and scale of the market intervention, the project always warranted much stronger departmental governance and central oversight”.

Are Victorians now to have water smart meters foisted upon them again as a result of a lack of adequate government oversight?  Worryingly, if we wanted more information, SSMA was referred to a person listed as being an employee at one of the water corporations. Is this another case of the Victorian Labor Government being asleep at the wheel?

View SSMA’s letter to the Minister for Water, and the questions that we posed, here.
View the government’s response here.

Please note, at the request of the government, its response has been redacted. Specifically, the government, in a reply sent on Christmas Eve in response to an email from SSMA asking permission to publish its letter, stated “Please remove all personal details in the letter including all names, position titles and signatures before any [sic] publishing it on your website”.

Previous posts that SSMA has done on the rollout of water smart meters include:
Look out Victorian water customers – your utility may be rolling out smart meters!
Water authorities rolling out wireless smart meters!
Smart water meter “trials” have commenced!

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7 Responses to Victoria’s Minister for Water evades questions about smart water meters

  1. Shane Dobbins says:

    Regarding the installation of smart water meters (known by the name “Digital Meters”) for South East Water.

    The word is this, South East water are currently trialing them and will be looking to roll them out in the new year. Customers will not get a digital meter if they specifically tell SE Water that they don’t want one. I am not certain as to how much prior communications to customers there will be prior to rollout.
    I would assume some prior notice will be given but if not then it is up to customers to proactively
    inform SE Water that they do not want a digital meter(/smart meter).

    This information is only in respect to South East Water and not other water distributors.

  2. Let's get real about RF says:

    Fantastic to hear that one of the water corporations will allow smart meter opt-outs based on health concerns. Does this mean the rest of them are going to irradiate the community and environment regardless?? Two wrongs don’t make a right. Just because water corporations are claiming that their meters don’t transmit as often as electricity smart meters and aren’t as powerful isn’t very reassuring. Plenty of Victorians have had their electricity smart meter turned down and are still suffering!

  3. Anf says:

    We need a class action against the government and the politicians that force this crap upon us and need to be sacked instantly with no benefits no pension no nothing just like any other employee of any other non government business and people need to stand up to these (you the reader choose you own words) mongrels…

  4. andrew whitney says:

    Smart water meters are lurking in the shadows as well as smart gas meters … now read on :-
    We have APA over the past 18 months trying to install a new gas meter at our place in Hampton Park Victoria. They insist it is not a smart meter, but after a phone call to the manufacturer of the meter Landis Gyr about the model 750, it has the potential to be fitted with an additional magnet, it has the capacity to pulse and send data to a data logger. With a few simple changes I believe it can be made smart quite easily without having to make an entirely new one. Sure, they can say it is not a smart meter now or functioning as a smart meter now, BUT, from what Landis Gyr are saying it well could be transformed at a later stage in to a smart gas meter. Pretty tricky eh? Sorry to burden you all, but that’s something else we have to keep in mind. Could someone in SSMA look in to this more, that is, the potentiality of these new gas meters being adapted to smart meters?

    • Mr James says:

      I have one of these 750 gas meters. They can have their module retrofitted with another module that enables the 750 to function as would a smart meter. My gas distributor is Ausnet, formerly SP Ausnet.

  5. pcwwp says:

    Is there no end to the treachery!

    • Rik says:

      As you can see the government doesn’t listen to us and forces all sorts of crap onto us without warning.
      they make money so they force it upon us. If we give them more money thats the only way they will stop.

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