Plug pulled on Victorian smart meter plan  

Posted by Big Gav in , , ,

The Age has an article on difficulties with Victoria's smart meter rollout leading the government to suspend it for the time being (not wanting any problematic issues during an election year it seems) - Plug pulled on smart meter plan.

THE state government has temporarily pulled the plug on Victoria's $2 billion smart energy meter program.

Energy Minister Peter Batchelor last night announced an indefinite moratorium on the rollout of the new technology to every home across the state - because of concerns pensioners and the poor would be hardest hit by higher electricity prices.

Mr Batchelor made the announcement, an election-year embarrassment for the government, after meeting representatives of the poor, including St Vincent de Paul and the Victorian Council of Social Service.

He made it clear the government intended to push ahead with the scheme, but gave no indication as to how long the moratorium might last.

The plan to install smart meters in all 2.5 million Victorian homes and small businesses over the next four years, and introduce a new time-of-use pricing regime, has been beset by controversy.

The government argues the new technology, which can read a household's energy use every 30 minutes, will enable people to monitor their use in peak periods and turn on high-energy appliances such as dishwashers during off-peak times. ...

VCOSS chief executive Cath Smith last night welcomed the moratorium, saying Mr Batchelor had recognised that people who spend a lot of time at home during the day or who could not shift their energy use to off-peak times could suffer. ...

Mr Batchelor said last night: ''We are committed to ensuring the transition to a new pricing structure is managed carefully and sensibly.'' He promised to regularly review the effect of time-of-use tariffs on families.

But he defended smart meters, saying they would help Victorians tackle climate change.

Earth2Tech reports that smart meters continue to get some mixed receptions in the US as well - It’s Come to This: Citizens Against Smart Meters.
The backlash against the smart meters installed in Texas by utility Oncor doesn’t seem to be dying down. Actually the protesters are getting more organized and turning to social media. A group called Smart UR Citizens — whose members describe themselves as “a group of Texas citizens that are fighting the unrealistic utility charges which we believe are caused by the Smart Meter” — has a new web site, an online petition, an intro video and an online survey, and is inviting community members to submit videos and comments about their experiences.

The small group is also holding rallies outside of Oncor’s headquarters and using social media to get the word out. Dallas Morning News reporter Elizabeth Souder reported in the newspaper’s blog Texas Energy and Environment yesterday that the group was supposed to hold a rally Thursday afternoon — as she put it: “The protesters will be the ones waving red shop flags.”

Oncor seems to have been making a variety of attempts to address the smart meter backlash. The utility has been releasing information about weekly tests in local areas, including OakCliff, Temple and Killeen.

But utilities are still trying to figure out the best way to communicate to these types of customers about transitioning to smart meters. As this IDC Energy Insight report say, utilities “have not thought through the implications of new technology and products on customer relationships or the business process.” In other words, utilities are not at all prepared for the increased amount of communication, education and interactivity that will be required from installing new smart grid technology.

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