Northland Woman Successfully Stopped Company From Installing A Smart Meter

Website editor’s note: The following report comes from Whangarei journalist Clare Swinney. (To find out more about Clare’s recent work on the smart meter issue, including measuring smart meter emissions, please type “Clare Swinney” (without the speech marks) into the search box at www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz.)  

 

Northland Woman Successfully Stopped Company From Installing A Smart Meter

 

I have been hearing repeatedly that Meridian insists that their customers must “upgrade” to a smart meter, or find another power provider.  This evidently is not true in all cases.

An elderly lady who lives in Tutukaka, Northland phoned and advised the following on the 25th of March, 2016:

She got a letter from her power provider, Meridian on the 5th of February, 2016, which is attached.  It was a standard letter, sent to advise customers that Meridian was “upgrading” meters in the area and that hers was scheduled for replacement.  It mentioned that this “upgrade” was to improve service and ensure that her meter was “certified and compliant.”

As she did not want a smart meter, she contacted Meridian and asked if the new meters were mandatory.  The Meridian agent whom she spoke to told her that they were not, so she replied that she did not want one.    The Meridian employee then tried to sell the virtues of the new meters, also referred to as “advanced” meters, and advised that her current meter may not be read monthly, but only once every 2-3 months if she didn’t get a new one.   She told the Meridian employee that this was quite acceptable to her.   The Meridian employee also advised that a “smart” meter would be installed anyway when the current meter’s certification lapses.

She checked on her meter box and to her jubilation she saw that it was last certified in December, 2014, meaning that the certification would not expire until 2029.   She advised Meridian.

(Ed note:  If your meter box is not easy to access, sending an email to the Electricity Authority is another way of finding out when your meter’s certification is due to expire.  You can find out more about this by clicking HERE.)

She recently noticed that her neighbors had had smart meters installed, but fortunately, she still has her old analogue meter.

She said she was upset that “smart” meters were putting hundreds of meter readers out of work and when it was mentioned to her that the radiofrequency radiation emitting from them may affect bees, she said that her son, who lived on an adjoining property, had had two hives, but one had died.   She did not know if this had anything to do with the “smart” meter installed on his property or not.
 

Smart meters are not compulsory in NZ

While some staff from some electricity retailers have reportedly made claims to the effect that smart meters are compulsory or some sort of goverment requirement, it is NOT compulsory to have a smart meter in NZ and  if you already have a smart meter you can ask your electricity retailer to organise for the smart meter to be removed. Another possible option is for the modem and any ZigBee chip in the smart meter (these are the parts of a smart meter which produce pulses of RF radiation*) to be removed.

You can read about this option at this link: http://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/government-and-electricity-industry-positions/comparing-analogue-ferraris-meters-with-smart-meters-which-have-had-the-modem-removed/

 

Many people in NZ are saying “NO” to smart meters

If you do not already have a smart meter, and do If you do not want to expose yourself to the potential risks of smart meters, which include health and fire risks, as well as higher bills, you may like to read this link to find out about how other New Zealanders are successfully preventing smart meters from being installed at their homes and businesses.

You can read a summary of why many people are saying no to smart meters HERE.

 

NB: If you would like to keep up to date with information about the “smart” meter issue in NZ, please sign up to the free email list at www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz. Thank you

If you live in the Invercargill area and don’t want a smart meter, here is good news

If you live in the Invercargill area and don’t want a smart meter, there is good news in a new document* on the website of the Electricity Authority.

 

According to the document:

“As of 21 May 2015, in total 26,000 category 1 metering installations (Electricity Invercargill was responsible for 7,546, and TPC [The Power Company] for 18,454) had expired interim certification.”

 

The Electricity Authority wants customers in these areas to have certified metering and has required Electricity Invercargill and The Power Company to come up with a plan to achieve this.

Part of this plan includes installing non-smart meters for customers who have refused to have a smart meter installed!

Quoting from the document Electricity Invercargill and The Power Company [TPC] agree to:

 

“(a) take all practicable steps to achieve compliance as fast as possible, preferably by 14 December 2016. To achieve this outcome, Electricity Invercargill and TPC commit to taking the following actions:
(i) certifying all non-compliant ICPs regardless of suitability for an AMI meter, including using alternative certified meters or moving the metering point where customers are refusing permission to install electronic/AMI meters;”  [Emphasis added]

 

So a big thank you is due to everyone in this area who has refused a smart meter so far (and helped on the campaign in other ways, such as by running screenings of Take Back Your Power.)

Your actions have helped to make a difference.

 

If you are in the Invercargill area and if your electricity retailer informs you that your meter’s certification has lapsed, you can tell the company that you are happy to have your meter changed – as long as it is to a properly certified non-smart meter.

 

(NB:  If your electricity company offers you a smart meter with its transmission capacity disabled, please see this link so you are aware of the pros and cons of this option: http://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/government-and-electricity-industry-positions/comparing-analogue-ferraris-meters-with-smart-meters-which-have-had-the-modem-removed/)

 

Meridian and Powershop joined the investigation that preceded this settlement agreement so both these companies will be aware that the agreement directs Electricity Invercargill and The Power Company to install non smart meters for customers who do not want smart meters.

 

NB If you would like to keep up to date with the smart meter issue in NZ, please sign up to the free email list at www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz Thank you

 

 

* SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT
Regulation 24(1) Electricity Industry (Enforcement) Regulations 2010

DATED:
BETWEEN:
(1) The Power Company Limited of 251 Racecourse Road, Invercargill, (TPC);
(2) Electricity Invercargill Limited of 251 Racecourse Road, Invercargill, (Electricity Invercargill);
(3) Electricity Authority in its role of the market administrator under the Electricity Industry Act 2010, of 2 Hunter Street, Wellington, (market administrator);
(4) Meridian Energy Limited of 33 Customhouse Quay, Wellington (Meridian); and
(5) Powershop New Zealand Limited of 43 Hanson Street, Wellington (Powershop)

 

NB If you would like to keep up to date with the smart meter issue in NZ, please sign up to the free email list at www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz Thank you

 

Your options if your electricity retailer sends you a notice to say it plans to install a smart meter

If your electricity company plans to install a smart meter, it will usually send a notice first.  (However, I have also received reports of smart meters being installed without notification, so for this reason many people put a lock and sign on their meter box and  email their company refusing a smart meter (as described below) as a precaution.)

This post discusses some of the options available to you if you do not want a smart meter.  Please note that I am not a lawyer so none of this post should be misconstrued as legal advice. 

In NZ, there is no law or regulation that states that you have to accept a smart meter.

However, the regulations governing the electricity industry mean that  meters do need to be certified (or have an exemption from being certified).

As many older meters have reached the end of their certification, companies in the electricity industry are using this fact as an opportunity to install smart meters as replacements.

If your home reasonably new (or has been rewired relatively recently or had its meter recently changed) it is possible your existing meter may comply with the regulations.

Please read this link to see whether your existing meter may still be certified: http://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/government-and-electricity-industry-positions/april-1-deadline-for-electricity-meter-certification/

If your meter’s certification is valid you have very good grounds for refusing smart meter, in my opinion. (Please note that I am not a lawyer.)

Some companies have it in their Terms and Conditions that you much accept a meter “upgrade”.

You may need to read your company’s T&Cs to see what your electricity retailer’s  policy is.

Some companies T&Cs state that the T&Cs may be renegotiated.  If this is the case, even if a company’s standard T&Cs include installing  a smart meter it may be possible to negotiate with the company for an alternative to a smart meter.

 

As a general rule, people in NZ who do not want a smart meter have been taking the following steps:

1) Putting a lock on their meter box to prevent a smart meter from being installed without their permission.  (You may need to ensure that the meter can still be read by putting in a perspex window or making an alternative meter reading arrangement. You may also want to check your company’s T&Cs as locking your meter box may put you in violation of your retailer’s T&Cs.)

2) Putting a sign like the one at the link below on the meter box to indicate to any technician who may call that a smart meter is not wanted. (This is a good precaution even if your electricity company has agreed not to install a smart meter in case of communications problems between electricity retailers and technicians means that your home is not removed from the installation list.) www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/New-notice-for-meter-boxes-February-20151.docx

3)  Beginning negotiations with their electricity retailer to see whether their retailer will agree not to install a smart meter.

A lot of people have been using this letter as a template for smart meter refusal: http://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/latest-news/retired-nurse-prevents-counties-power-smart-meter-installation/

Some electricity retailers simply refuse to consider any alternative to a smart meter and in this case, if you do not want a smart meter you may have no option but to change companies.  (There is information at this link http://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/how-to-get-rid-of-a-smart-meter/ to help you do this if necessary.)

Some companies will  offer to install the meter with its modem and any ZigBee (or “communications unit” or “comms unit” or “transmission chip”)  removed (This is an option with some, but not all brands and models of smart meter on the NZ market.)

If you are interested in this option, please read this link: http://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/government-and-electricity-industry-positions/comparing-analogue-ferraris-meters-with-smart-meters-which-have-had-the-modem-removed/

If you are offered any other alternative meter to a smart meter, you can email brand name and model to  http://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/contact-us/ and I may be able to give you some information about it.

 

  NB:  If you are interested in the smart meter issue, please sign up to the email list at www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz for updates.