UK government promises consumer security in smart meter rollout

Posted at December 14, 2012 » By : » Categories : News » Comments Off on UK government promises consumer security in smart meter rollout

The UK government yesterday outlined new rules to protect consumers’ privacy and security as smart meters are rolled out across the country over the next seven years.

By 2019, the government aims to have installed smart meters in 30 million homes and businesses, replacing 53 million gas and electricity meters.

But in smart meter rollouts elsewhere around the world, there have been serious concerns about the use of data gathered by smart meters, how it is held and used.

The government’s ground rules will enable consumers to choose how often their energy supplier can access their energy consumption data and supplier will have to remind customers about their choice and how they can change it.

Suppliers will also be barred from using the energy consumption data for marketing purposes unless given ‘explicit’ permission to do so by the customer.

A central delivery body will also be set up to “reassure” consumers and help them use smart metering to manage their energy use and spending.

“Let me be clear: the consumer comes first,” said Energy and Climate Change Minister Baroness Verma in a statement. “That’s why we are tackling issues such as privacy, security, consumer protection and communications now, working with industry and consumer groups to make sure we get this right ahead of the mass rollout.”

The government will also monitor progress on the rollout through annual reports from the ‘Big Six’ energy suppliers on their plans and progress.

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Related stories:
UK government outline next steps in smart meter rollout (8-Nov)
Smart meters will net the UK £14 billion in savings, says report (20-Sept)
ScottishPower, SmartReach and Siemens launch UK smart meter trial (18-Jul)
Intel to turn London into smart technology test bed (28-May)

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