Aurora Energy has locked down a number of NextG SIM cards in trial smart meters after one was removed and used to run up a $193,000 internet bill.
The Mercury reported today that a 33-year-old woman pleaded guilty in Tasmania's Supreme Court to charges, including computer-related fraud.
According to the report, the woman told Police she had been given the SIM card by a person she met on the internet.
She reportedly used the SIM to downloaded films and make calls. She was sentenced to 18 months jail – part suspended – and ordered to repay Aurora some $193,187.43.
An Aurora spokesman told iTnews that the utility had "become aware of an issue with communications equipment on a limited number of meters" through an audit process.
"We have worked with Telstra to address the issues and lock off the SIM cards that were affected," the spokesman said.
The spokesman could not reveal further details about the extent of the trial.
Further comment was being sought from Tasmania Police.
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UPDATE: Tasmania Police have laid charges against two other people in the Telstra SIM card case as new details emerge about how the card was removed.
It appeared a breakdown in communication allowed the SIM card to remain active after the meter was taken out of service.
"In Tasmania, businesses may choose to use an electricity provider other than Aurora. If a business wishes to change from Aurora, they need to have a technician replace the Aurora meter with one issued by their new provider. The meter removed however remains the property of Aurora," Justice Shan Tennent said in sentencing remarks.
"On 3 November 2009, a business at Eastlands decided to change their provider from Aurora to a provider known as Metering Dynamics. A technician from that firm came in and changed the meter over and the Aurora meter was returned as required to an entity engaged by Aurora.
"The meter contained a SIM card issued by Telstra to Aurora. When the meter was returned, Aurora should have been notified and the SIM card cancelled. That did not happen."
Aurora said yesterday it had locked off affected SIM cards that were fitted in trial smart meters.