More Than Half Of Brits Worried About Gov Smart Meter Data Scooping

smart home tablet energy green meter ipad © Brian A Jackson Shutterstock

Institute of Directors calls for smart meters scheme to be ‘halted, altered or scrapped’

The Institute of Directors has called the government’s plans to rollout energy smart meters across the country a potential ‘IT disaster’, with a survey carried out by another British firm finding that 56 percent of UK citizens are concerned about smart meter data privacy.

The Institute of Directors labelled the scheme “unwanted by consumers, devoid of credibility and mind-blowingly expensive” in a new report titled “Not too clever: will Smart Meters be the next Government IT disaster?”

£11 billion

The smart meter scheme is set to cost the government £11 billion, and looks to install 100 million smart meters in homes and business across the UK by 2020. It was kickstarted by Ed Miliband in 2008, but the IoD has called the plan ‘laudable’.

Dan Lewis, Senior Infrastructure Advisor at the IoD, said: “We all recognise the benefits of reducing consumption and increasing energy awareness. But there is little credible evidence to suggest that a scheme of this size and complexity will achieve those goals.”

smart meterA separate YouGov-commissioned survey from British software quality firm SQS polled more than 2,058 UK citizens on their thoughts about smart meters, with 37 percent of consumers convinced that the new technology will actually benefit energy suppliers the most, rather than consumers. More than half of those surveyed agreed that the draw of additional customer data is most likely the real reason for the smart meter initiative.

In 2012, the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) initially warned that smart meters will be used to collect large amounts of data unrelated to energy use.

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

Angus Panton, a director at SQS, said: “The smart meter roll out is a wake-up call for established energy providers. Our study shows that consumers want targeted, value-added services and greater control over their energy use, but don’t always trust their existing provider to deliver.  There is widespread cynicism about the viability of big IT projects and 62 per cent doubt smart metering will happen in the shifting timeframes.”

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