The Victorian smart meter rollout program has now safely installed 500,000 smart meters, and at the same time identified and helped Victorian consumers repair thousands of electricity defects.
“Smart meter installers are experienced and qualified and the smart meter program is being implemented within strict safety guidelines. This is a highly regulated and well managed program being rolled out under the scrutiny of Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) and in accordance with the Victorian Government’s mandate,” Energy Networks Association (ENA) chairman, Shane Breheny said.
Qualified smart meter installers have so far found a total of about 3500 homes with electrical defects and more than a third of these had to be immediately disconnected for safety reasons.
Mr Breheny emphasised that meter installers only examine the meter board and immediately around it and that householders wanting a full safety check of their electrical wiring need to call a certified electrical contractor to undertake a full inspection.
“In almost all cases this has been the first indication for customers that they have any problems and they were only identified because of the smart meter rollout. It’s an extra safety dividend being delivered to the community by the smart meter program,” Mr Breheny said.
“When our installers find these defects, we give advice to customers about how to have the problem resolved and depending on their circumstances we may provide further support for the customer,” he said.
The 500,000 smart meters now installed are part of the 2.8 million meters going in to all Victorian homes and businesses by the end of 2013, in line with the mandate of the Victorian Government.
The industry is marking the milestone with advertisements outlining the benefits smart meters will provide and to reassure Victorians that the program is safe and well managed.
The new Victorian Government has announced that it will undertake a cost-benefit analysis of the smart meter program.
“We will assist the review in any way we can, and are confident it will find that the benefits to Victorians clearly outweigh the costs. We urge the government to undertake the review quickly, so that any learnings can be implemented and the outcomes communicated to the public,” Mr Breheny said.
The industry is also participating fully in a review of safety standards and installer qualifications being conducted by the Victorian energy safety regulator, ESV.
“The smart meter program is an important energy infrastructure upgrade which will help position Victorians positively for a carbon constrained future. Smart meters will ultimately enable all of us to better understand, measure and control our energy consumption.
“We look forward to ongoing, constructive discussions with ESV, the Victorian Government and other parties committed to continuing the safe, successful rollout of this important program,” he said.