Victoria’s smart meters are safe, energy safety regulator concludes


Paul Fearon,
Victoria’s director
of Energy Safety
Melbourne, Australia — (METERING.COM) — May 23, 2012 – Victoria’s smart meters are safe and don’t pose any greater safety risk than older electronic or electromechanical meters when it comes to meter failure, according to a draft report from Energy Safe Victoria (ESV).

When smart meters fail, they fail safely and potentially reduce the risk of personal damage and injury, and there is no evidence to suggest that smart meters are exploding or causing fires, says the report.

The study was embarked upon following the claim of an anonymous “whistleblower”, claiming to be a distribution company employee, that several smart meters that had failed had exploded and could potentially cause a fire.

Initially these failures, in Jemena’s distribution area, were thought to have been caused by a high voltage injection associated with lightning strikes. However, subsequent investigation determined they had been sabotaged with chemicals, which the police are now investigating further.

The study also confirmed that the smart meters being installed in Victoria meet current Australian standards, including those related to safety, and that those standards are robust and appropriate. Further, the electricity companies are following Victorian Electricity Supply Industry (VESI) minimum procedures for responding to a HV injection when it occurs.

The procedures that describe what is acceptable in relation to the condition of meter boards and panels prior to a meter installation were also found to be appropriate and suitable for the purpose.

“There has been a lot of debate in the community recently about the safety of smart meters, and a lot of that discussion has not been based on facts or evidence,” commented Victoria’s director of Energy Safety, Paul Fearon. “Our conclusions are based on research, specific inquiries and investigation. On all the available evidence, I have no hesitation in assuring Victorians that smart meters are safe.”

The draft report is now open for comment, in order to ensure that it addresses the key issues that are of concern to the community, prior to the compilation of a final report by the end of July.

In the meantime, Energy Safe Victoria has committed to continuing to monitor the rollout and to investigate incidents and assess trends to ensure that safety remains paramount.