Smart meters will benefit UK Jobs

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The UK government has announced more details of a “world leading” plan to roll out smart meters to every home in the country

The government said it is pushing ahead with plans to roll out smart meters to every household in the UK despite some security issues around the technology.

In a statement released this week, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), said that Great Britain will be first country in the world to deploy smart meters in such numbers.

The government had previously voiced a commitment to roll out the devices by 2020 but the announcement this week is being seen as a confirmation of that intention.

In preparation for the roll-out, the government has launched a consultation on what information should be available via the meters aimed at consumers which closes in August. The government already issues a consultation aimed at small businesses in July this year.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband said the meter roll out is estimated to cost between £2.5bn and £3.6bn over the next 20 years . “This is another part of our Great British refurb,” he said. “The meters most of us have in our homes were designed for a different age, before climate change. Now we need to get smarter with our energy.”

According to the DECC, Smart meters will allow consumers and businesses to monitor their own energy use and make reductions in energy consumption and carbon emissions as a result.

“This is a big project affecting 26 million homes, and several million businesses, so it’s important we design a system that brings best value to everyone involved,” said Miliband.

Technology supplier group Intellect said it welcomed the government announcement over smart meters and said that it would help to bring new jobs to the UK.

“We welcome the ambition to put a smart meter in every home by 2020, but this move isn’t just about providing consumers with a new way of monitoring their energy consumption,” said John Higgins, director general of Intellect. “Smart meters are a platform on which we can build the jobs of the future, open up a huge new areas for services and create devices that cut carbon emissions.

But despite the potential benefits of smart meters and smart grids – some experts have raised issues around the security of the technology. In March this year, researchers from US security consultancy IOActive created a worm that could spread from one smart metering device to another thanks to the wireless technology that is used to connect them, according to reports.

Responding to the security issues a spokesperson for the DECC told eWEEK Europe.“The UK Government announced its intention to mandate a roll out of smart meters for all households in Great Britain last year. We are now considering more detailed plans for how smart meters should be rolled out. The specifications of the technology have yet to be decided but of course security will be a priority,” the spokesperson said.