Safety concerns could scupper government plans to reduce
carbon emissions and through smart metering.
The government plans to put 53 million smart meters in homes
and businesses in the UK as part of a programme to reduce
energy consumption. But it could face a major challenge in
the face of concerns about the safety of smart meters in the
home and the potential invasion of privacy.
According to a Telegraph report, plans to make smart meters
compulsory in homes has been shelved over concerns about
privacy and safety. MPs and campaign groups have raised
concerns about the electromagnetic radiation emitted 24
hours a day by the meters – as well as concerns over privacy
as a result of the data collected about people's living
The Telegraph quoted sources in the Department for Energy
and Climate Change (DECC), which is running the programme,
as saying a proposal for mandatory adoption was shelved to
avoid the programme getting bogged down in lengthy legal
But the DECC told Computer Weekly there was never an
intention to make smart meters compulsory: "Nothing has been
shelved and there's been no change to our smart meter plans
- suppliers will be required to undertake a national
roll-out of smart meters to more than 30 million homes and
small businesses by 2019.
"We have never said it will be an offence for householders
to refuse to accept a smart meter and we have made it clear
that we do not expect suppliers to seek an entry warrant
simply to fit smart metering equipment."
The GB Smart Metering Implementation Programme (GB SMIP) is
estimated to cost £11.7bn.
GB SMIP aims to allow gas and electricity consumption to be
monitored to provide information that will help consumers
and businesses use energy more efficiently. This promises to
lower bills, reduce the UK's carbon footprint and help
energy firms to provide better and therefore prevent
Chris King, chief regulatory office of eMeter and chairman
of the smart energy demand coalition (SEDC), said the
government needs to address the concerns, such as privacy,
if the benefits are to be achieved. He said: “Smart Meters
are essential for the development of a smart grid model
where consumers will understand their energy. The model
should not only enable consumers to understand how they
consume and sometimes also produce it, but also where their
grid-connected power comes from, and its real cost.
“It is also important for officials to recognise that
privacy is a feature, not a bug. Smart grid systems must be
designed with respect for consumer privacy as a core
"Privacy principles should be part of the smart grid’s
overall project governance framework and privacy
requirements should be included in system designs. In smart
grid systems, consumers should never have to take action to
ensure their privacy.”
The IT that underpins GB SMIP is set to be one of the
biggest challenges of the project because it requires major
investment. The total bill will cover smart meters, smart
communicating sensors, modules, advanced communications
networks and technology to secure data.
A company will be set up to manage the data smart meters
send and receive, which will require services from IT and
communication suppliers. "Communication of data to and from
smart meters in the domestic sector will be managed
centrally by a new, GB-wide function covering both the
electricity and gas sectors," said the DECC.
DECC has already begun procurement for the function, known
as the central data and communications company (DCC). "In
advance of the appointment of the DCC, it is intended that
DECC would initiate the process for procurement of the data
and communication services that will be contracted to DCC,"
said a DECC notice. It wants suppliers for a wide area
network, telephone and data transmission services, data
transmission services and IT services - including
consulting, software development, internet and support.
It has also called on IT suppliers to build the data and
communications infrastructure to enable data to be sent
between smart meters in homes and businesses and the DCC.
The deal could be worth up to £4.5bn.
Meanwhile a single supplier is being sought to provide IT
services to the DCC for up to nine years in a contact worth
up to £240m. The services are: systems integration and
implementation; software development, integration, testing
and integration with communications systems; IT hosting,
including the provision of datacentres and computer servers
on a managed-service basis; and the support and maintenance
of the software once implemented.
Security, safety and IT concerns are not the end of the
SMIP's challenges to win hearts and minds. A survey of 1,000
consumers carried out by the Economist Intelligence unit for
smart meter technology provider T-Systems revealed fears of
initial price rises and a lack of evidence on future savings
associated with the government's plans. The government
estimates the smart metering programme will increase annual
domestic energy and gas bills for the average dual-fuel
customer of £6 by 2015, but by 2020 it will deliver a net
annual saving of £23.
for 3 months, absolutely
RISK-FREE If you do not feel Q-Link improves your
focus, energy, or well-being, simply return it for a full
Airtube headsets have
30 a day refund.
Contact: Research Center For Wireless Technology 1-888-470-9886