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energysafe issue 39
Man convicted over illegal
smart meter disconnection
By Sharon Rainsbury, Executive Manager
Media and Communications
A 35-year-old man has been convicted
and fined for illegally disconnecting the
smart meter at his Edithvale home.
The man, who can not be named due to a
suppression order, appeared in the Melbourne
Magistrates’ Court on 4 March charged with doing
unlicensed electrical work, failing to comply wit h
a request for documents, and interfering with
metering equipment “in a manner likely to cause
risk to persons”.
He agreed to plead guilty to the charge of
unlicensed electrical work and the other counts
were withdrawn by ESV.
Chief Magistrate Peter Lauritsen convicted
the man and he was fined $750 and ordered to
pay $11,737 in costs.
The court heard the man was concerned
that a smart meter was installed at his home
on the morning of 12 November 2013, and he
approached the installers in a “belligerent” manner
demanding that the advanced meter be removed
and the old meter returned.
The prosecution summary tendered to the court
said that when the installers explained that they could
not remove the meter, the home owner threatened to
get a hammer and “smash it to pieces”.
The meter subsequently recorded that power
was disconnected at 8.07am and a technician sent
to investigate later that day discovered that the
meter panel had been pulled forward and the live
wires going into the back of the meter had been cut.
Magistrate Lauritsen was told that before the
power was interrupted the home owner made a
telephone call to United Energy’s service centre and,
with numerous profanities, threatened to remove the
meter himself if the electricity provider did not.
Defence lawyer Avi Furstenberg said the
phone conversation clearly showed that the home
owner was “concerned” about the smart meter.
The court heard the home owner did not have
the power reconnected for three months and
this had destroyed his business, which he ran
Dial Before You
In February ESV participated in the
Dial Before You Dig contractors safe
excavation field day.
The event gave contractors an opportunity to
catch up with the team from Dial Before You Dig
and their members, along with civil trainers and
locating experts. Held in Werribee, it featured an
excavation challenge and free health checks for
all attendees and raised $1900 for beyondblue.
A dangerous cut: Photos tendered to the court showed where the live wires going into the back of the
advanced meter had been cut while (below) the meter panel was also damaged.
Barrister Robert Squirrell for ESV said
the man’s actions could have had disastrous
consequences if the exposed active wire had
made contact with the metal enclosure as all metal
surfaces in the house would have become live.
In finding the charge proven and recording a
conviction, Magistrate Lauritsen accepted that the
man’s concerns had influenced his reaction to the
ESV’s Director of Energy Safety, Paul Fearon,
said ESV was pleased the court had sent a
message that unlicensed electrical work was
“This man’s actions could have not only
injured the people within his own home, but also
his neighbours as their homes could have become
live as well,” he said.
“It is never OK to do any sort of electrical
work if you’re not licensed and his actions were
reckless, dangerous and inappropriate.”
ESV’s Electrical Installation Safety division
had a tent and handed out safety information
ESV has produced new stickers that show
the clearance zones for digging near gas and
electrical infrastructure. The stickers include a
QR code that can be scanned to access the
Email us to request free stickers and
safety information for your workplace.
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