Are you thinking of upgrading to a smart meter?
You may have read mixed reports regarding the safety of smart meters and what it means in terms of your cybersecurity.
Or perhaps you are thinking of having a smart meter installed in your home, but are worried the meter will tie you to one energy supplier.
Today, we are here to help.
Our panel of experts from government and fields of public health, safety, cybersecurity and energy answer your questions about this latest innovation for your homes.
The Great Smart Meter Debate: our panel of experts
‘I read smart meters can cause fires. Just how safe are they?’
Howard Porter, CEO, British Electrotechnical and Allied Manufacturers’ Association (BEAMA), writes:
“Smart meters are subject to rigorous safety testing at every stage of design and manufacture.
“The meters are installed by experienced technicians who have undergone intensive extra training to ensure they connect your smart meter safely and correctly.
“Smart meters are held to the highest standards of accuracy and reliability, as required by national and international product standards.”
Martyn Allen, Technical Director, Electrical Safety First, writes:
“Safety is the first consideration when installing a smart meter.
“The training, assessment and auditing that installers go through is focussed to ensure that smart meters will be installed safely and function correctly.
“Special attention is given to ensuring that the electrical connections in the meter are correct and tight.
“Steps are also taken to make sure that connections in your fuse box are not affected.”
‘How tricky is it to change energy supplier once I have a smart meter?’
Jane Lucy, Founder and CEO, Labrador, writes:
“Consumers should be confident that switching energy suppliers while keeping your smart meter smart can be easy.
“Smart meters make it much easier to use switching services like Labrador.
“Our technology enables you to see your energy usage and cost, no matter which energy supplier you choose to switch to, or from.”
‘What will the impact of a smart meter be on my energy bills?’
Claire Perry MP, Minister for Energy and Clean Growth, writes:
“Smart meters are ending families’ estimated bills, helping them to save energy and money, and are forecast to take £300m off consumer bills in 2020 alone.
“With more than 10 million smart meters now operating in Great Britain and thousands being installed every day, more households and small businesses are taking control of their energy.”
Changing energy suppliers is easy with a smart meter
‘I’ve read smart meters use radio waves. How can these affect my health?’
Dr Azadeh Peyman, Public Health England, writes:
“Smart meters use radio waves to allow remote readings to be taken from gas and electricity meters.
“The evidence to date suggests exposures to the radio waves produced by smart meters do not pose a risk to our health.
“Smart Energy GB has been working closely with us as we carry out an extensive programme of research to assess the exposures from smart meter devices as the technology is rolled out.
“Based on assessments made in the UK and other countries, we advise that the exposure to radio waves from smart meters is well below the guidelines set by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).
“Exposure to radio waves does not provide a basis to decline having a smart meter.”
‘How will having a smart meter installed interfere with my home’s wifi network?’
Mark Parry, CEO, Wifinity, writes:
“The simple answer is that having a smart meter installed will not affect your home’s wifi. Smart meters do not actually need or use wifi to operate. Instead, they rely upon GSM cellular networks to send small amounts of data back to the power companies.
“Smart meters use the same type of networks as mobile phones, but they use their own secure network to send energy suppliers your meter readings. Just like your mobile phone doesn’t stop the wifi in your home from working, neither will a smart meter, because it uses a different type of signal.”
Using a smart meter will not put you at risk to cyber hackers
‘I have a smart meter – what is the risk from hackers?’
Professor Kamal Bechkoum, Cybersecurity Expert, University of Gloucester, writes:
“Fortunately, manufacturers increasingly recognise that good security makes effective business sense.
“Systems like smart meters, which operate on a national scale, are part of a secure system and use an encrypted wireless network, which is not connected to the internet and does not store your name or home address.
“A smart meter only stores your energy information.”
This article was written in partnership with Smart Energy GB for express.co.uk.
For more information on smart meters, visit smartenergyGB.org
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