The Victorian smart meter rollout has been a costly exercise that has substantially failed to deliver anticipated results. This is the conclusion of the September report of the Victorian Auditor-General, John Doyle.

Since 2009, the average household has paid approximately $760 in metering charges which have not been itemised on electricity bills. These costs may reduce in the short term but are expected to increase ’sharply’ from 2024 when the meters are due to be replaced. State costs may exceed the 2011 estimate of $319 million and are even higher than for manual reading of electricity meters.

While it’s possible that about 80 percent of expected benefits may be realised in time, this may not be the case, as this calculation is based on ‘complex assumptions’ that are not being met.

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‘Market research conducted in early 2014 found that two-thirds of Victorians did not understand what the benefits of smart meters were and many were still unaware of the link between their smart meter and saving money on their electricity bills,’ the report stated.

Although consumers have paid for the smart meter rollout, they have not been kept informed about it. ‘There is little clear and transparent knowledge of costs to consumers to date and no public reporting of either the costs or benefits of the program,’ Mr Doyle wrote. (‘Realising the Benefits of Smart Meters’, Victorian Auditor-General’s Report, September 2015.)

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About The Author – Lyn McLean is a consumer advocate, author and educator and has been monitoring and writing on the subject of electromagnetic radiation (EMR) for over 20 years. She is the director of EMR Australia.

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