• 23 AUG 13
    • 0

    Smart meter installer held ‘hostage’

    From Rosemary

    “On 3AW this morn… Neil Mitchell interviewed a farmer from near Bairnsdale, VIctoria, who is trying to get a smart meter installer charged with tresspass. The installer had gone ahead and installed a smart meter despite being told to leave the property, so the owner blocked his driveway with his ute & the installer was not able to leave. The owner then called the police. Police thought owner had a good case…..the policeman said if we (the police) come to your property and we are told to leave, we have to and we can only come back if we have a search warrant. This farmer had safety concerns about smart meters but his main issue with them was about his rights and being ‘forced’ to have one”


    The Telegraph News
    August 22, 2013

    A SMART meter installer was held “hostage” at a property until police were called to resolve the bizarre blockade. While the latest stand-off was peaceful, dozens of other fitters have fled homes because of verbal abuse and threats of physical violence. Tool boxes and equipment have been stolen in some cases.

    Cattle breeder David Ginders has defended barricading a locked gate with a ute to detain an installer for about 90 minutes at his Flaggy Creek farm driveway near Bairnsdale. He objected to the newly installed meter, and unsuccessfully demanded the old device be returned. The stalemate, late last month, ended when police attended.

    Mr Ginders has safety doubts about the digital meters, despite reviews finding they produce less electromagnetic radiation than microwave ovens and baby monitors. He claims the installer ignored requests to leave before fitting the meter, and wants distributor SP AusNet charged with trespass. “I am outraged they can march in and put something on your house against your wishes,” Mr Ginders said. SP AusNet’s Jonathon Geddes said the Electricity Industry Act “allows entry onto private land to do works and things necessary for the construction, maintenance or alteration of equipment used in the supply of electricity”.

    Customers were required to give unrestricted meter access and police help was rarely needed.

    “SP AusNet asks that customers continue to respect our people as they go about delivering the State Government-mandated smart meter program,” Mr Geddes said. United Energy revealed installers had left sites about 40 times since the start of last year because of threatening customers.

    Police had intervened “less than a dozen” times since the rollout started in 2009. “Although these statistics are not high … any instance whereby one of our installers feels threatened is unacceptable,” spokesman Stuart Allott said. This included verbal abuse, threatened physical abuse, and a couple of theft cases.

    CitiPower and Powercor spokesman Drew Douglas said a “very small minority” subjected installers to anti-social behaviour. Police had become involved nine times.

    More than two million smart meters have already been fitted statewide. All Victorian homes and small businesses are due to have a smart meter installed by the end of the year. Companies said questions and concerns should be raised with customer service contact centres.



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