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When a new government takes charge, there is often divisions over how past policy will fit in, if at all, with their new policy outlooks.
While in Opposition Ted Bailleu, Victoria’s new State Premier was extremely critical of the smart meter system, parictulalry when complaints of shocks resulting in injury were reported to the government and the media.
According to The Age, more then 3500 households in Victoria are at risk of possibly life-threatening electrical hazards due to faults in the installment of the smart meters.
The possibility of electric shock is not the only problem facing the smart meter roll out, with the Alternative Technology Association (ATA) expressing concern over the approval of price increases for the smart meters.
Craig Memery, ATA’s Energy Policy advocate said that “Energy consumers will be charged too much for services that are meant to be automated by smart meters. We accept that it will take some time for energy businesses to get their new systems in order, but in the meantime this is like charging $5 to send a text message.”
The ATA is not the only organisation expressing concern, with Electrical Trade Union secretary Dean Mighell saying on Victorian radio that he was concerned smart meters were sometimes being installed by people without the right qualifications, which could increase the risk of danger in the installation.
The Bailleu government has begun a review of the current roll out of the smart meters, but installments of the meters will continue while the review is being carried out.
Brumby’s government commissioned an independent report conducted by Oakley Greenwood, which found that smart meters would deliver benefits to Victorian households.
Then Minister for Energy and Resources Peter Batchelor said that the smart meter would bring out of date technology into a digital age. .
“Through the roll-out of smart meters we are equipping Victorian families with the tools to manage their energy bills and connect more easily to new technology such as solar panels.”
The Bailleu government’s study will explore the cost effectiveness of the smart meters, with the government waiting until the completion of the report before deciding to halt the program.
SMART METERS KEY FACTS
• Smart meters are designed to replace current electrical meters on households throughout Victoria.
• By 2013 Victorian government aims to have the new smart meters installed in 2.5 millions homes and businesses in the state.
• Smart meters do not need meter readers or estimated bills.
• Electricity distributors will be able to reconnect power much quicker when power goes out.
• The smart meters will have more detailed information and household electricity use.
• The smart meters read outs are said to allow better control over energy use, and could potentially lower bills.