EnergySafe Magazine Autumn 2015, issue 39 - Page 5

05 For all the latest energy safety news visit www.esv.vic.gov.au Autumn 2015 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 He agreed to plead guilty to the charge of unlicensed electrical work and the other counts were withdrawn by ESV.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 from home. Dial Before You Dig contractors field day 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 meter’s installation. ESV’s Director of Energy Safety, Paul Fearon, said ESV was pleased the court had sent a message that unlicensed electrical work was never acceptable. “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 and merchandise. 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 full guidlines. Email us to request free stickers and safety information for your workplace. lick here to request free C  stickers and safety information for your workplace