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Smart meters watch your consumption, but who watches the watchmen?

smart meters

Smart meters will create clear benefits for consumers, but safeguards are required.

The EDPS has noted that “while the Europe-wide rollout of smart metering systems may bring significant benefits, it will also enable massive collection of personal data”.

Smart meters are set to be rolled out from 2014 with some energy suppliers already installing the technology, and a full nationwide switch to smart meters expected to be complete by 2020.

Smart meters will allow households to see precisely how much energy they are using and help them make savings, as well as providing accurate billing and giving energy suppliers the ability to suggest more suitable tariffs.

Privacy warnings

However, the EDPS has warned that the collection of personal data could also impinge on privacy. Giovanni Buttarelli, assistant director of the EDPS said: “Profiles (of energy consumption) can be used for many other purposes, including marketing, advertising and price discrimination by third parties.”

The report is calling for safeguards to be introduced under legislation to ensure smart meters do not breach data protection, including guidance on how often meter readings can be taken, how long the data can be stored for, and the algorithms that help companies create profiles.

Learn more

Our guide to smart meters

British Gas smart meters blog – part 1

– British Gas smart meters blog – part 2

  • Michael Martin-Smith

    The consumer will not be helped by monitoring a totally unnecessary rise in
    utility bills. We need a cut-throat competition by new independent suppliers to halve the price of energy. We are learning that the Green movement is basically antihuman, like
    earlier dictatorial ideologies. Race and Class are now being replaced as
    scapegoats by Humanity itself. Engineered poverty and famine are NOT required to Save an unendangered planet, except by those who hate their fellow humans. The Earth
    has survived much worse – but human(e) civilisation will not survive global
    totalitarian rule by a soi-disant “Green” elite