Meter proves not such a smart move

A WODONGA pensioner’s power bill has skyrocketed after he was given a smart meter, despite refusing it initially.

John Anderson said he received most of his power via solar panels but his latest bill for the quarter had quadrupled.

“Before the smart meter my bills were no more than $50 and now it’s $273,” he said.

“There is nothing here to register my solar panels — I’m receiving nothing in return.

“I should be receiving some kind of rebate.”

Mr Anderson refused to have a digital meter installed when he found they would be rolled out in Victoria.

“They are not safe, they produce high-frequency radiation,” he said.

“I wrote to SP AusNet twice with my concerns and told them they would be trespassing if they installed one.

“I was furious when I returned home one day and there it was.”

North East provider SP AusNet is in charge of installing the smart meters across Victoria.

Mr Anderson’s supplier is AGL.

An AGL spokeswoman said the company had been in contact with him for 18 months to try to help him.

To receive a solar feed-in tariff, Mr Anderson would need a solar- configured meter to record and feed the solar generation into the electricity grid, she said.

“The current meter Mr Anderson has is a standard meter, which only allows him to receive power into his household and is not configured to send it back to the grid,” she said.

“In Victoria, a solar company installs the panels and sends the corresponding paperwork to the energy retailer, who upon receipt, contacts the resident to arrange installation of the solar-configured meter.

“AGL received this paperwork in December 2012 and contacted Mr Anderson to arrange installation.

“(But) Mr Anderson advised us that he did not want this done.

“More than 12 months has now passed and, as a result, Mr Anderson needs updated paperwork.

“Once AGL receives this paperwork we can proceed with installing the solar-configured meter.

“AGL explained that he had turned on his invertor, which caused the meter to spin backwards as there were solar panels and no corresponding solar-configured meter.

“A distributor will not bill or submit negative reads, which is why the reads are estimated, and an estimated read may be higher or lower.”

Mr Anderson denies touching the meter and is seeking quotes to become self sufficient through his solar supply.