Smart meters - are they such a smart idea?

Why not scrap them and help Haiti?


Gordon Brown often offers to save the world. So, why not send the £8.1 billion saved from NOT establishing smart meters to Haiti? The tiny climate change mitigation that these meters are supposed to produce are vastly outweighed by the horrors unfolding in Haiti.

The European Union said in 2006 that smart meters should be made mandatory, but voters in the Netherlands have vigorously opposed a compulsory rollout and succeeded in persuading politicians to vote against it. The fears are that data on energy consumption could be misused by criminals, police or insurance companies. Dutch consumer and privacy organisations were concerned that information relayed as frequently as every 15 minutes could allow employees of utility companies to see when properties were empty or when householders had bought expensive new gadgets. See here.

The UK government intends to spend £8.1 billion establishing a smart meter system and database. The present trials, which are being conducted with four of the leading suppliers, are throwing up potential problems, including issues about access to properties and the need for rewiring and repiping. Datamonitor is warning that the introduction of smart metering will rival the creation of the internet as a telecommunications project and will stretch utility industry practices and processes to breaking point.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change wants to see 47 million meters in 26 million properties by 2020 and states:

Data protection and system security are crucial issues for the success of the rollout and operation of the smart metering and will be a vital part of the implementation work we will be doing. We will take a rigorous and systematic approach to assessing and managing these issues.

Well they would say that wouldn't they?