Smart meters are safe to be put in homes

I would like to address some issues raised in a letter from Juliette Calderone published in The Courier on November 1.

Smart meters are covered by strict safety regulations and Victorians can be confident that they are safe for installation in their homes.

Independent testing has shown that electromagnetic emissions from smart meters are a tiny fraction of the safe levels set by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA).

They are lower than for many other household devices, such as cordless phones and baby monitors.

ARPANSA has stated that "the overall exposure from smart meters is very low and well below exposure limits, even when a number of devices are communicating simultaneously" and Victoria's Chief Health Officer has endorsed this statement.

Overseas, the World Health Organisation (WHO) carried out a recent in-depth review of the scientific literature on electromagnetic emissions and found that "current evidence does not confirm the existence of any health consequences from exposure to low-level electromagnetic fields."

The most recent work carried out by the UK Independent Advisory Group on Non-ionising Radiation published in April 2012 and reviewing current and past papers concluded "there is no convincing evidence that RF field exposure below guideline levels causes health effects in adults or children."

Smart meters will deliver benefits to Victorians like fewer estimated bills and faster and cheaper reconnections.

Already, some companies are offering web portals that give customers detailed information about their energy usage, helping them reduce their bills.

And flexible pricing options available from mid-2013 will give consumers new choices when looking for pricing plans that fit their usage patterns.

There has been a lot of misinformation about smart meters, so the Department of Primary Industries has set up a website dedicated to smart meters, providing fact sheets and independent reports about the roll out www.dpi.vic.gov.au/smartmeters

MARK TRAVILL

Community Liaison Manager, AMI Program, DPI 

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