Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Smart Meters

The UK Parliament yesterday published the House of Commons Committee of Public Accounts report on Preperations for the roll-out of smart meters. (pdf)

The report suggests that many of the benefits of the installation of smart meters will acrue to the energy suppliers, and that it needs to be carefully managed to ensure that customers gain benefits. There are a few mentions of privacy, but more about cybersecurity. Privacy is a concern for consumers (represented by Consumer Focus' expert witness - with the concern than there are 'a huge number of unknowns in terms of how consumers are going to respond'. The energy companies themselves are wary of being see to have abused consumers' privacy. There are several references to the experience of the Netherlands, where, according to the report, privacy was not taken seriously enough and this resulted in a consumer backlash.

1 comment:

  1. I personally think that these smart meters have no benefit to the consumer and are only beneficial to the energy suppliers and i fail to see how these will ever become beneficial to the consumer but they are something that the energy supplier need to combat fraud.

    As for the data privacy these do pose threats to the consumer. The energy suppliers will be able to tell when somebody is at home, predict what household appliances the consumer is using, are they surprised this caused a consumer backlash?

    I would like to know whether politicians are happy that energy companies are going to have access to this sort of data about their homes?

    On the other hand if the government was to set up a privacy act relating to the smart meters stating that the energy companies connected to the smart meters would not be aloud to use the data for certain things such as knowledge on the appliances the consumer is using. This data will also need to be completely private for security reasons within the property, this follows a high security communication media is also needed so that hackers can not access this information also.

    Personally i think these smart meters with the right legislation on data and privicay being put into place will take off and be a good idea.