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The Victorian Government has approved a re-start of the multibillion-dollar rollout of smart meters to Victorian homes – halted last year by the then Labor Government following massive protests by citizens who found their meters were going to see their bills sky-rocket.

The Victorian Government has approved a re-start of the multibillion-dollar rollout of smart meters to Victorian homes – halted last year by the then Labor Government following massive protests by citizens who found their meters, far from saving them money, were going to see their bills sky-rocket.

Energy and Resources Minister Michael O’Brien yesterday released results of an audit that found – despite the protests – the maximum benefit to the State would be delivered by continuing the rollout, and that the former Labor Government had underestimated the cost of the program by $415 million.

Premier Ted Baillieu pledged to continue the smart-meter rollout, adding that instead of giving taxpayers the devices proposed by the Brumby government, a “more advanced” version of the existing scheme would be implemented.

This would see, among other things, in-home displays subsidised; an extended delay to 2013 on so-called “flexible pricing” to give consumers more time to learn about their options; and tougher regulation of smart-meter cost recovery by distribution businesses.

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