In an announcement yesterday, the Victorian Energy and Resources Minister Peter Batchelor has called for a full review of smart meter consumer regulations following new electricity pricing structures and negative reaction.
Batchelor also announced that he would temporarily stop charges for using the devices, which was introduced in September 2009, if the need arose.
"I'm prepared to consider all options including, if necessary, imposing a moratorium on new tariffs until the regulatory investigation is complete," said the minister.
The smart meters scheme was slammed by the Victorian Auditor-General in a report last year saying that consumers would have to pay up to $150 more for electricity per year. The 2009 report also criticised smart meter trials.
The government announced it would be providing $50,000 to consumer welfare agency, the Consumer Utilities Advocacy Centre, for a communications campaign, and will establish a working group to assess the viability and impacts of smart meters. According to the minister the group will meet this month.
Two weeks ago the opposition compared the government's smart meters scheme to the much criticised electronic public transport ticketing system, myki.
"These smart meters really are the myki of metering. Instead of giving Minister for Energy Peter Batchelor the arts, John Brumby should have given him the flick," said Shadow Minister for Energy Michael O'Brien.