Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Smart meters – big brother or planet saver?

I mentioned in the previous post that Onzo’s solutions provide a range of methods for customers to access their meter data. The company also says that its software analyses the data and is capable of “extracting valuable insights, including the identification of individual appliances from whole house data”.

It’s this sort of ability that seems to be behind much of the objections to smart meters in the US. You can get a taste for the concerns in the YouTube video at (click on the picture below).



It seems that people (in the US at least) are concerned about how much information is being gathered about them through the meters (even though the information may uncover some wrongdoing). 

I share the general concerns about the amount of data held on all of us, but I’m not sure whether the fact that someone knows I’ve just put the kettle on is really impinging on my human rights. Between them CCTV, store cards and ATM transactions pretty much track my every move.

The real difference here is that smart meters have direct user benefits. They give us a degree of understanding and control over our energy use and will, in the long run, enable us to save energy and money, easily and conveniently.

More importantly they’ll help save the planet, which is perhaps the most important way we are all going to be kept safe.

© The Green IT Review

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this great video. This American man makes a point that is not so commonly made in Europe, where huge amount of money is going to be spent on smart meters without questioning the very design of these systems.

    In my humble opinion, there are several important questions:
    - What is the business model of smart meters deployment? (Who will make money from them?)
    - What kind of collected data, for which uses, shipped to whom?

    Currently, highly intrusive and weakly secured technology is massively deployed without stating clearly its purpose...

    For example, one question among others: why real-time highly-detailed individual data has to be shipped outside homes if it is supposed to help people check their domestic energy consumption? Do grid managers really need all these details to monitor the load of the large-scale electricity network? It seems that aggregated data would do it too (currently, it does).

    Therefore, smart metering looks like a good idea turned into a powerful technical solution that could have Orwellian applications. People are right to be extremely cautious and ask for more information before accepting these new meters in their homes.