The government plans to rollout smart meters across all UK homes. Unfortunately, only 8 million out of 27 million households have signed up the £11 billion scheme, despite media advertising which promotes the positive impact for conserving energy when installing a meter.
The theory behind owning a smart meter is to help householders keep continuously informed of their energy use. Meter readings can be regularly and easily submitted direct to the energy supplier, which ultimately cuts out the cost of employing meter reader staff to knock on individual household doors.
Currently if a consumer changes their energy provider, then the consumer must also change their smart meter as often individual smart meters are affiliated to their company providers. This is causing ‘a bit of a nuisance’ for energy user consumers and so under a new scheme called SMETS2, this will no longer be the case as new smart meters will be applicable to all energy suppliers and will mean that when a consumer changes their supplier, the relevant smart meters will accordingly automatically update with new energy supplier’s details – with no need for change of device.
Smart Meters could open up the gateway to cyber criminal activity
Although this all sounds very promising and simple to use, the underlying issue is that in providing a single device across all suppliers opens the gateway for cybercriminal activity on a much broader scale. The issue isn’t in the meter’s own efficiency but rather it’s the level of security. Currently, individual supplier devices allow the energy companies to have complete control over their own device and how it is accessed. If a single device becomes the future, this will eliminate control over the device and technology because no single energy company would be responsible for the device. The way in which energy companies operate their tariffs could also be a problem as they can often operate quite differently. This could become quite challenging again for the technology to meet all suppliers’ needs, again opening up vulnerability methods for hackers who are seeking ways to infiltrate these types of products for their own gain.
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