back to article Information on smart meters? Yep. They're great. That works, right? – UK.gov

The UK government has insisted it is effectively communicating the benefits of its controversial smart meter programme – despite MPs having identified a "lack of clarity" over the "problem" the scheme is trying to solve. In its response to the committee’s “Evidence Check” report on smart meters in September, the government …

Anonymous Coward

estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

I dont have a smart meter.

Having one will not make me need to switch on the lights less

Having one wont make me drink less hot beverages

having one wont help me need the heating less

Having one will not make my kids switch off the lights or use their consoles / laptops / phones less

Please tell me the benefits to ME, i know the power companies can sack the meter readers

68
2

Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

The benefit to ME is paying an accurate bill monthly (or quarterly) without having to dick around taking and submitting readings myself. Once everyone has smart meters the con trick by the energy companies to give the best rates to fixed monthly payment tariffs is gone. I object to paying estimated bills, or a fixed amount based on a forecast that is invariably inflated when the technology to pay accurately based on actual usage is available.

Anyone know how much energy companies have got banked from people that have overpaid?

7
42
Bronze badge

Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

A beeeeeelion apparently;

http://www.cityam.com/254997/energy-suppliers-owe-homeowners-1bn-overpaid-gas-and

1
0
Silver badge

Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

Having a meter that provides a reading remotely is one thing; someone else having remote control over my supply via a 'Smart' meter is not.

Remember folks - they aren't compulsory!

49
1
Silver badge

Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

Phone them up, demand a credit on your next bill, and to reduce the estimate because it's obviously wrong. Them accurately billing has nothing to do with smart meters.

If anything, it's so they can detect unmetered usage. That costs them a lot, and it's still possible by just cutting a wire to tap into anything you like, electricity-wise. Illegal, yes, but still possible. With smart meters, if their numbers on your line don't tally 24 hours a day, they know there's something up and they could even send data down the lines to see if you're pulling from somewhere you shouldn't be.

And smart meters aren't currently accurately billing anyway (a lot are locked into the original supplier and can't move suppliers, which means they don't read at all any more and many of the so-called smart meters are just current-reading clamps, not actual meters), plus the savings on one visit a year that would be required to keep your estimate accurate just aren't enough to justify an always-on data connection.

Smart meters are there to provide even more complex billing systems which you can then practically "verify" if you can be bothered, but they can also just charge you 2.5% extra between 4.14 and 5.47am at any point they want, write it in the T&Cs, update your billing algorithm and blam, you're gonna pay it. Whereas at the moment they **were** until very recently being forced to simplify billing and get you off those kinds of plans onto a flat rate (that "simpler bills" plan is now dead in the water, by the way). This way they can charge a fortune for the expensive peak usage in the future just with a software update, that's accurate to the second, not to the once-a-year-visit.

Smart meters aren't there to help you. They are there to change the terms and conditions in the future. Software updateable on an always-on device, there's a reason for that. And then they can start introducing the devices that contain the REAL reason - which is to start cutting you off in peak periods and separating out the circuits into "necessary (1A max)" and "optional and we can cut it off (the rest of your 100A)".

Because that saves a BUCKET load of money as you can just turn off peak demand, basically, and then blame the customer. Oh, and you'll have a "Premium" account available that doesn't cut you off but costs 10 times as much. Again, software-updateable. And - probably the biggest reason for them wanting actual CONTROL of your usage? So they can cut you off the second you don't pay without needing to send anyone around. They can literally just kill the circuit remotely and, if it doesn't get negotiation over the line with your smart meter, assume that it shouldn't be supplying power. Then you can't even bypass the meter.

Today - "energy meter", a £20 device from Maplin's.

Tomorrow - "per-second accuracy billing meter", to introduce a myriad of complex tariffs for users that they can't do with conventional meters (remember Economy 7 which has TWO numbers on the meter, etc.? This can provide accurate power usage information down to the second for the entire customer history).

The day after - an in-circuit upgrade "to provide a better service".

The day after that - cut you off when the football is on because everyone else has a cup of tea and they don't have enough nuclear running any more to cope with it. By the way, you're still paying for everything you do use.

The day after that - you don't like the above and want to move companies? No problem. Click. You're without power.

52
1
Silver badge

Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

@Dominion

Not sure why you were downvoted, but I agree with you entirely.

I have tried and failed, to remember to regularly submit my meter readings, not to mention the fact that the gas meter being outside means going out in the cold or pissing rain to do so at this time of year. Having gas and electricity meters that eliminate the need sounds like a great idea to me. Mine is due to be installed at the weekend.

Having a smart meter is unlikely to reduce my energy consumption. In fact, I intend to pay no attention what so ever to my smart meter, for me the whole point of it is to reduce how much I bother to look at my usage figures not increase it.

As for concerns over my supply being turned off using the meter? Firstly, can smart meters even do that? I don't know, but even if they can I think it's far more likely to happen as a result of supplier incompetence than through a security flaw in the meter, and the probably of being cut off due to supplier incompetence already exists now.

3
33

Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

The benefit to ME is paying an accurate bill monthly (or quarterly) without having to dick around taking and submitting readings myself.

So for me, the dicking around submitting readings adds up to about 5 minutes, once a quarter so a smart meter will save ME about 20 minutes a year. Not a lot and potentially wasted by the time I spend reading articles about them.

More importantly, the accuracy problem remains. If I dont check myself, or have some way of verifying, how would I know the power company isnt simply making up the bill - or a mischievous script kiddie has pwnd the system to rise and lower bills at random?

If I have a smart meter that I have to check (or even adjust) then a tiny bit of effort will definitely wipe out any value it has offered.

22
1

Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

A smart meter wouldn't make me use less energy either. I suspect the same goes for most Register readers. But the number of people I've seen boil a full kettle to make one cup of tea suggests that a lot of non-Reg readers don't have the same understanding of where energy goes as us speccy techie types. Maybe they could do with a helping hand.

7
2

Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

I can't ring up and demand a credit, because I refuse to sign up to a fixed monthly payment - so I'm never in credit, but by doing so I'm forced to pay higher tariffs. This fake market will be one of the first things to get smashed up when I'm put in charge around here.....

4
12
Silver badge
WTF?

Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

"The benefit to ME is paying an accurate bill monthly (or quarterly) without having to dick around taking and submitting readings myself."

Then you should get one....

I on the other hand have absolutely no problem, submitting my meter readings, my supplier sends me a text, I pop outside, open the cabinet, tap the number into an app on my phone and bosh it's done.... takes me all of 90 seconds, I normally do it as I'm gonna be walking passed them anyway.

Of course I do appreciate that your time is considerably more valuable than mine

24
1
Silver badge

Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

@PrivateCitizen

In regards to accuracy, from what I've seen smart meters (or at least the part of them that goes inline with the incoming supply, not the fancy wirelessly connected gadget) still have a cumulative unit read out, just like a conventional meter.

Have you any reason to believe that this function on a smart meter is any less accurate than that of a conventional meter? Unless you do, you can check the readout on the meter just like you do now.

If you do believe that the cumulative read out on the inline element of a smart meter is in some way inaccurate or unreliable, then I would raise the question how do you know that the read out on your conventional meter is accurate?

3
4
Silver badge

Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

"

I on the other hand have absolutely no problem, submitting my meter readings, my supplier sends me a text, I pop outside, open the cabinet, tap the number into an app on my phone and bosh it's done.... takes me all of 90 seconds,

"

But after doing that you will still get the same inaccurate bill each month, with a sudden change in the amount after you are £100's in credit or debit.

I would far prefer to pay for the exact amount I have used at the end of each month. I think a real-time billing will cause many people to use less. If a person knows that a reduction in energy usage right now will result in a lower bill at the end of the month and so more beer-money, it will have a far greater effect than the thought that reducing average usage over the whole of the year will result in a lower fixed monthly outlay the following year. At present I can leave an electric heater on all night this week and I will not be paying a penny more until next March at the earliest.

Although I have no idea whether a smart meter would be used to provide real-time billing. Probably not.

1
8

Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

It should help you when you pick what provider to switch to.

If you never change providers, usage patterns, or only have a single rate type of billing system then no change would be had.

The benefits COULD happen for everyone who gets a reduced rate during non-peak usage, or those who might even pay rates for perhaps weekdays, weekends, evenings, mornings and that sort of shiznizzle. If you did have one and it had backlighting then you might need to switch on the lights less, but for most people it will make little to no difference.

If the UK starts having power outages then it will be nice that we might have some form of digital log stating when power dips and spikes happened (thus killing power regulators in computers, televisions, or even the motors(starting caps) in white goods).

Until I can read the data from my home then these "S.M.A.R.T." Meters just seem like a easy way of getting rid of meter readers. Cant wait for people to start pairing them together to cheat the lekky man.

Two homes combining two supplies (where you pay a daily standing rate) could get you about a 25% discount on electricity bills, and the full amount would get paid... Is it theft?

1
0

Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

@Cynic_999

some people just don't get it do they?

i like to spread my bills over the year, paying the same amount each month regardless, in winter i use more, in summer i use less, overall i pay the same averaged over a year. not knowing how much i will need to pay each month in winter does not help when on a budget, knowing i've likely got it covered from summer or will catch up next summer does help.

just how is a realtime bill any more accurate than me supplying a reading every month? i assume they won't invoice me daily and take the money out by dd daily or overly frequently, they will likely bill me monthly or quarterly as they currently do, the only change being i won't need to submit a reading? if so i really don't think its worth x billions to save a few the hassle of reading a meter. what next someone to come around and wipe your bum?

8
1
Silver badge

Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

Benefits:

1. When you move out of your house, you can be billed up to the day you move out. When you move into a new house, you can be billed from the day you move in.

2. Have you ever had to answer the door to a meter reader? Not any more, you won't.

3. If you do get disconnected, you can be reconnected at half an hour's notice. Not half a day's notice.

4. If you do get disconnected, it'll cost you maybe a fiver to get reconnected, not ten times that amount for a callout.

5. When your consumption suddenly goes through the roof, you'll be able to figure out when it happened and that might tell you what caused it. For instance, we had a customer this month who wanted to know why her consumption had trebled. I was able to point to the precise day it happened. After a bit of thought, she realised it was the day she turned the spa pool on.

The bottom line is, with smart meters you and everyone else will be billed accurately, for the power you actually use. You wouldn't believe the guesswork, fudging and compromises that go into reconciliation without them.

1
6
Anonymous Coward

Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

@ PhilW

> As for concerns over my supply being turned off using the meter? Firstly, can smart meters even do that?

Oh yes.

> I don't know, but even if they can I think it's far more likely to happen as a result of supplier incompetence than through a security flaw in the meter,

So if you're cut off in mid-Winter during a bout of freezing weather, you'll console yourself with the thought that it was just supplier incompetence and not hackers?

> and the probably of being cut off due to supplier incompetence already exists now.

Not really. Because you get a chance to challenge the disconnection warrant in court. And the leccy supplier *has* to turn up and *has* to listen to what you say. With remote disconnection you have to convince the call centre droid that what the screen in front of them is saying is wrong. What odds do you give yourself on that?

11
1

Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

only the prepaid smart meters will have remote cut off

like utilita witch can be used in prepay and monthly payment, they are extremely useful in rented houses or House Multiple Occupation (HMO), with say 6 people in renting as you can easy switch over to new renters or remotely turn off the gas and leccy when they fail to pay the rent,, you just change the password , so they cant topup the account online, so when they run out of emergency credit the meter cuts off (or set account to not renting witch turns off the meter right away)

0
6

Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

You can certainly phone up and demand a refund, you can even request a reduction in your payments. But whether you get them or not is another matter. If you can get someone at the company who actually gives a damn or is getting hassled about the number of calls they are not taking, or the time the calls they are on, and they can give you the time to try and sort your account out, you'll be extremely lucky.

Next, the requested reduction, if the CSR does put the change into the system, the system will analyse it, if it meets the requirements (and it won't) your monthly charges will be reduced, what normally happens is that the system will increase your monthly charge and you will have to phone in again (don't bother writing or threatening to leave (the letters will be put at the bottom of a pile for another CSR to deal with) while the company is attracting plenty of other suckers in with "great" deals.)

The voice of experience at both ends.....

0
0

Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

@veti

I used to work for a utility, so consider myself to have some knowledge of this, although it may be out of date now.

1. If you tell your supplier in advance of your move and take meter readings on the day you move, you can already do this. It was a regulatory requirement for suppliers to request meter readings when they become aware of a Change of Occupancy (COO) but most home movers don't tell them until after the event. Smart meters won't make a difference if no one tells the supplier of the change.

2. Many homes have meters located on the outside wall, so don't have to answer the door to a meter reader. There was also a health and safety requirement that meters were visually inspected at regular intervals. Smart meters won't change that.

3. Speedy reconnection means speedy disconnection in the first place. If your supplier wants to disconnect you, they have to obtain a warrant to enter your premises to do it. This takes time and money (hence the swingeing reconnection fees) so suppliers only use it as a last resort. If they can do it at a click of a mouse, then it will become far more common, and you can bet the reconnection fees won't get any lower.

4. As I said in point 3, you can bet the reconnection fee won't get any lower - they have you over a barrel as you can't just go to another supplier and ask them to connect you immediately, even if the reason for disconnection has been resolved.

5. I will concede that a sudden spike or change in consumption would be easier to pinpoint, but it still wasn't highlighted to the customer until she queried her bill, which could have been many (expensive) months after the the change. Now if you told me that the unusual consumption pattern triggered an alert on the system, prompting you to call her to check if there was a reason for the change, she could have taken action to put it right and save money. That would be a consumer benefit.

"The bottom line is, with smart meters you and everyone else will be billed accurately, for the power you actually use. You wouldn't believe the guesswork, fudging and compromises that go into reconciliation without them."

Actually, I would but, but this is a benefit for the industry, not the consumer, and there are other factors that cause inaccurate bills, that a smart meter won't fix, such as crossed MPANs.

10
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

Just found out that because we never bothered giving npower a metre reading (our fault), over the last six years they've been over-charging us by 100%. They now owe us £6000. I'm sure they've enjoyed the interest they've racked up on that.

0
1

Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

like utilita witch...

What kind of witch is Utilita? A Wicked Witch or a Good Witch?

0
0
Silver badge
Happy

Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

It's not hard. Nip outside with your phone, and photograph the meters. Come back in to the warm and enter it on the energy company's web site. It takes 5 minutes.

On of the reasons we have stayed with Ovo is that they let you set the size of the direct debit, and give you a handy graph for estimating the correct level.

1
0
Black Helicopters

Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

"Remember folks - they aren't compulsory!"

Yet!

0
0
Silver badge

Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

@Blotto

ISTM that it is you who needs your bum wiping if you cannot save during Summer to cover your Winter bills. My experience is that even if you supply your reading every month, your DD payments are only adjusted at the end of the year. As for knowing how much you are using and will be charged at the end on each month - that's exactly what the smart meter will tell you - it keeps a running display of energy usage in both kWh and £s

0
3

Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

This is where I'm confused too. I submit exact meter readings each month. I have had no estimated bills for over 10 years. I also have one of those digital display doodahs (one of those British Gas wireless things) that tell me exactly how much energy I'm consuming in real-time (electricity only) and how much the running total is for the day/week/month.

Apart from the fact that a smart meter would automatically submit my meter readings (as opposed to me taking the reading once a month and submitting it using an app, all of which takes < 5 minutes), I don't see any advantage to this. Not for me anyway.

OK, the thing can take a reading every few minutes if you so wish, giving you a much more granular view of your energy consumption and trends, but that's about it really. Oh, it would include Gas as well (I think) so that's a plus.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

"But the number of people I've seen boil a full kettle to make one cup of tea"

Ah, I see you've met my wife.

I remind her every now and than that the kettle will boil much faster if she puts in just the needed amount of water. A day or three later and that's all forgotten and it's back to the 60 year old habit of putting in "enough to cover the element" like in the old style kettles.

1
0
Silver badge

Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

"Not really. Because you get a chance to challenge the disconnection warrant in court. And the leccy supplier *has* to turn up and *has* to listen to what you say. With remote disconnection you have to convince the call centre droid that what the screen in front of them is saying is wrong. What odds do you give yourself on that?"

Unless I'm mistaken, there's no change in the processes and legal steps involved in a disconnection. The only difference is they don't need access to turn it off. The supplier cannot simply turn off your gas or electricity just because your DD failed to complete this month.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

"we never bothered giving npower a metre reading (our fault), over the last six years"

I'm fairly sure there is a legal requirement that your supplier must physically inspect the meter every so often, 2-3 years or so. At some point well before those 6 years were up, nPower should have been in contact with you to *insist* on seeing your meter.

2
0
Silver badge

Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

"ISTM that it is you who needs your bum wiping if you cannot save during Summer to cover your Winter bills."

Not in that position now, but have been in the past. It can be incredibly hard to save money for a bill 6 months or more in the future when money is tight and the kids need to be fed and clothed. Doesn't matter how good you are at budgeting, if the money is there and and "emergency" occurs, you *WILL* spend that money. If you've budgeted a fixed amount per month and have "banked" it with the gas/leccy company, you won't be tempted to use it and will find another way to solve the "emergency".

If you've never been in that position for a prolonged period, then it can be almost impossible to imagine what it's actually like. eg see the examples provided by MPs pretending to live on benefits for a whole month and than bragging about how "it's not really that hard after all"

And, of course, we are all human and therefore different. I see budgeting as being a bit like fight or flight. Something we are born with that's quite difficult to overcome.

2
0

Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020

@Phil W

Have you any reason to believe that this function on a smart meter is any less accurate than that of a conventional meter?

No but that wasnt the real point. I suspect the read out on the smart meter will be just as accurate as the read out on the conventional meter. However having to regularly check this defeats the time saving the OP claimed.

However there is a side issue - the smart meter can be remotely configured to change the charging rate or the flow measurements etc. This means a malicious party can change things in a way that cant be done with a conventional meter.

1
0
Silver badge

Dear Mrs May

Heed these words well..

Flogging

A

Dead

Horse.

Just ditch the fucking things. The only "people" to benefit will be shareholders.

24
2
Silver badge

Re: Dear Mrs May

It is not dead. For her.

A remote switch to turn off your lights the moment the goons are breaking down your door is a useful facility in a police state. So do not expect her to get her mitts of such facility voluntarily, you will have to remove them with power tools.

30
3
Silver badge

Re: Dear Mrs May

The only "people" to benefit will be shareholders.

How long before the snooper's charter will be amended to let the food standard's agency see how much 'leccy we are using on a minute by minute basis ? Hmmm: I suppose they could check that I am cooking the xmas turkey properly.

11
0
Big Brother

Re: Dear Mrs May

Dear Chairman May

FTFY

3
1
Silver badge

Re: Dear Mrs May

Oh, for fuck's sake...

"A remote switch to turn off your lights the moment the goons are breaking down your door" is not nearly as useful as what they have right now, which is a switch right there on the site that does the same thing. Doing it remotely just adds a wholly unnecessary layer of communication/coordination to fuck up.

Seriously, the level of paranoia around smart meters is un fucking believable. People seem to check their brains at the door in these threads.

4
10
Silver badge

Re: Dear Mrs May

Right now there are only two physically possible methods to remove power from a house:

A) Gain physical access to the mains supply supply tails at the meter (inside the property) at the tap (underground or pole-mounted), and cut them while live. Makes a big bang if done quickly, very expensive to repair.

B) Open the substation contactor, removing power from a street or more. Safer, hard to reverse as they aren't designed to do this often.

So, the police and GCHQ simply do not have the physical capability to disconnect power from a given house without significant cost, danger to themselves, lots of preparation and very large side effects.

Smart meters give them the ability to cut any specific supply at little notice, at very low cost, with no danger and very few side effects.

They also give miscreants that same ability.

10
0

Re: Dear Mrs May

remote switch off is only on Prepay smart meters like utilita

0
1
Silver badge

Re: Dear Mrs May

They say that, yet the very expensive 100A contactor is inside nearly all of them.

One wonders why. Well, one wonders which reason they'll use.

1
0
Silver badge

Re: Dear Mrs May

remote switch off is only on Prepay smart meters like utilita

AIUI it's part of the spec for all meters to be switchable between pre-pay and contract, and for all meters to have the remote cutoff.

I would say that the ONLY benefit is that switching between pre-pay and contract is easily done 9and remote) - so in theory it should be less expensive when (say) you rent a flat and find that it has a pre-pay meter, to get that switched to contract (assuming you have a half-decent credit record). As it stands now, unless you plan to be there for a while, I imagine the cost of having the meter replaced will more than wipe out any potential savings.

The flip side is, of course, that it's going to be equally easy for the supplier to say "Oops, you're 30 seconds late with your payment, we're switching you to pre-pay" CLICK

6
0

Re: Dear Mrs May

From the design spec for all 2 phase smart meters:

"For Operational purposes the meter shall be:

Capable of sustaining a continuous current of 120A for long periods;

Fitted with an internal main Load Switch suitable for prepayment and load limiting purposes

rated to make on fault current and safely break load currents of up to 120A."

2
0
Silver badge

Re: Dear Mrs May

"Seriously, the level of paranoia around smart meters is un fucking believable. People seem to check their brains at the door in these threads."

The same can be said for the ministers and civil servants behind this scheme too, From what I recall, the UK wasn't all that enthusiastic about this project when the EU kicked it off, hence being well behind schedule in even starting the roll-out. With Brexit looming large, you'd expect the UK government to be stalling a bit until there's no longer an EU requirement to continue with this expensive white elephant. And yet it's all steaming along at full tilt. You'd almost think that either they can't stop once they've started, or they found some other reasons to keep going.

1
0
Silver badge

Gosh, but it is sooooo useful

We have just moved and the new house has a smart meter and a wonderful monitor showing how excessive we are being with our energy usage..

Wow, so helpful...

Who would have thought that turning on a kettle to make a cup of tea was so damaging to the world? It took less than a week before we unplugged the stupid thing and stuck it in a drawer. How dumb does someone have to be to think this is meaningful information?

25
2
Silver badge

Re: Gosh, but it is sooooo useful

To be fair, I have a plug in monitor, and it is useful. True, I don't boil the kettle less, or turn the oil-fired heating off, but it's a useful visual reminder if something invisible (electric fire in the office?) has been left on, as the expected 'background' reading of about 500w shows as 2.5kW - so, useful, but fairly limited.

Best buy was one of those plug-in meters that monitors individual appliances to show just how much they are using. Stand-by can be quite expensive over time!

But as far as smart meters go, I'm sure my neighbours in the hills with a large attic don't want to have to explain to the plods why they're using 20kW of lighting 24/7

15
0
Silver badge

Re: Gosh, but it is sooooo useful

But as far as smart meters go, I'm sure my neighbours in the hills with a large attic don't want to have to explain to the plods why they're using 20kW of lighting

Which is why Yr Ploddiau have helicopters...

2
0
Coat

Re: Gosh, but it is sooooo useful

Sorry - why did you stick your kettle in a drawer?

2
0
Silver badge
Windows

Umm....

The Government worked in partnership with GCHQ on its blog21 on smart metering infrastructure"

This inspires as much confidence as seeing two men in black leather coats doing a beeline towards your front door at around 06:00 in the morning, while a largish Daimler-Benz is idling on the kerb.

What exactly is going on here?

25
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: Umm....

I'm not sure if it was the same source but I read an interesting article from GCHQ on the security mechanisms built into the Smart Meter Infrastructure and it's an interesting read with a number of common sense checks built into it.

I'm still not getting a smart meter but the security side of it does seem to have been thought through a lot better than my supplier was willing to admit/divulge.

2
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Umm....

Smart meters are a great, and yet another, way to monitor the masses. By watching your consumption they can tell whether you're in our out, bathing, showering, watching TV*, hoovering, sitting idly in the dark...

THIS is why GCHQ are involved. Not enough is made of this aspect of smart metering.

And of course the bloody govt. have to make up stuff and obfuscate when they're asked why they're so fond of smart meters. They can't exactly say, "it's another feed into the database we keep on everyone. We already know when and who they communicate with, which web sites they visit, when they go shopping and what they buy, we also need to know what else they're doing... in their houses... when the doors are shut..."

Watching your energy consumption at this level of granularity can reveal a massive amount about your current and past activities.

*They can even tell which channel you're watching, the varying consumption of your TV as it adjusts the screen backlighting creates a unique signature they can match against channels broadcasting at the time.

16
3

Re: Umm....

"They can even tell which channel you're watching,"

No need to use the Smart Meter for that, the Smart TV is already sending back that information. Plus anything you say in the room it's in, of course...

4
1
Silver badge
Facepalm

Re: Umm....

@Ac

How do you make it through a single day?

1
5

Page:

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Forums

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2018