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Smart Meters and electrical safety

24 Feb 2012

There have been a number of recent media reports of Smart Meters exploding. It appears that a small number of meters were damaged as a result of a lightning strike.

When Smart Meters are subject to a high voltage injection, such as lightning, they are designed to respond with a safe failure − contained within the meter.

This design, with a built-in fuse, actually reduces the likelihood of power surges entering the home and damaging appliances.

The Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) and Jemena (one of Victoria’s electricity distributors) are investigating the matter in more detail.

The ESV has advised the Government that Smart Meters are safe and do not pose a risk to the public or to installers.

Read a statement from Victoria's Director of Energy Safety in regards to Smart Meter safety.

Victoria has a strong track record in electrical safety. The Government’s highest priority is to ensure that any continuation of the smart meter rollout will be undertaken in a safe and responsible manner. 

The electricity distributors are required to ensure that all workers involved in meter installation activities are appropriately qualified and supervised. Prescribed safety tests must be undertaken to confirm that a smart meter has been correctly installed, and sites are inspected at random to further support safe outcomes. Energy Safe Victoria (ESV), as the state’s independent safety regulator, is responsible for the oversight of electrical safety matters and approves the electricity distributors' safety procedures. ESV can audit the electricity distributors and may prosecute individuals or businesses for failing to comply with safety requirements.

The smart meter installation process is providing a “safety check” of the meter board of every Victorian home and business. To date, more than 7,000 homes have been found with wiring or other defects which needed to be repaired, potentially saving lives and preventing property damage.

Read more about Installation Safety.