Most Victorians now have remotely read digital meters after being advised that the rollout was mandatory.
But thousands have repeatedly resisted, mainly over health and privacy concerns.
All households and small businesses have been paying for the government-ordered $2.3 billion rollout through power bills for several years.
A Jemena letter warns distributors will be entitled to recover the costs of maintaining a separate manual-read system from next March.
“To avoid this additional charge, we request you contact us as soon as possible to make an appointment to install your smart meter,” it reads.
United Energy’s letter states it will “honour your request to not have the smart meter installed at this time ... this will mean that you may incur additional charges”.
The Herald Sun late last year revealed that customers risked being charged up to $150 more annually — on top of smart meter costs — if they refused installation. Former Energy Minister Nicholas Kotsiras said at the time a fee approved by the Australian Energy Regulator was preferable to disconnections.
Entire IT and communications systems were overhauled to accept smart meters statewide.
Government spokeswoman Rachel White on Wednesday said arrangements were being made to “ensure that the vast majority of Victorians do not have to foot the bill for additional costs created by a small minority”.
But Stop Smart Meters Australia president Marc Florio said it was unfair to “double charge”.
“And it’s too late for thousands more who didn’t want a smart meter but were told it was compulsory and were coerced and deceived and got disconnection threats,” Mr Florio said.
Jemena’s Samantha Porter said: “Any recoverable fee will reflect the additional costs associated with the manual read as well as back-end systems and processes that will need to be supported”.
United Energy’s Stuart Allott said a refusal fee option was being explored.
SP AusNet, CitiPower and Powercor said they would continue to work with customers to finish the rollout.
heraldsun.com.au 19 Mar 2014
Consumers face up to $194 per year for smart meters, at: