SMART Meters are compulsory and those who do not allow them to be fitted risk being cut off from the supply grid, according to Energy and Resources Minister Michael O’Brien.
Speaking to The Courier yesterday, Mr O’Brien said having the meters installed was not a choice and if people refused, they were breaking the law and the agreement they had signed with suppliers.
There has been a lot of debate in Ballarat revolving around smart meters, with some campaigners claiming they can be easily prevented by padlocking energy meters, rendering them inaccesible.
However, Mr O’Brien said it was compulsory that they are allowed to be fitted.
“Any customer who wishes to remain connected is required to allow electrcitity companies to install smart meters. If people don’t wish to remain connected that is up to them,” he said.
“There is no argument about this, it is black and white. Under Victoria’s Electricity Distribution Code, property owners who want to be connected to the grid are legally required to allow their distribution business access to the company’s meter to undertake the upgrade.”
Mr O’Brien also said it was a myth that residents owned the meter boxes and therefore had the right to protect themselves against being upgraded.
He also sought to clarify any health concerns that have been banded around by anti-smart meter activists.
“Any claims that the energy providers that own the poles, wires and meters don’t have the right to upgrade the meters are incorrect,” he said.
“The communications system associated with Smart Meters involves lower electromagnetic exposures than many other household devices, such as mobile phones and baby monitors. Victoria’s Chief Health officer has also advised that smart meters are safe.”
It is planned that all homes and businesses will be fitted out by the end of 2013.