Not Such Smart Meters

Vernon Coleman

Our energy company wants to fit smart meters. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that we are being harassed to have one fitted. They say they will take a morning or an afternoon to do this so it is fair to assume they will take a whole day. Setting up the appointment will take another half a day. Stuff that. The evidence shows that smart meters save little or no money and merely erode our privacy and security. The official, expected saving is now reckoned to be around £11 a year. And if the smart meters are hacked (as they doubtless will be), some anti-social 14-year-old with Aspergerís will have control of our energy supplies. Having a smart meter will also enable the Government to cut our consumption when the next energy crisis comes.

The other worry is that everyone with access to the computer will be able to tell when youíre away on holiday.

My enthusiasm faded still further when I read this letter in the Daily Telegraph: `Every morning I record my smart meter readings on a spreadsheet. I can compare daily, weekly and annual usage and can see the results both numerically and graphically. I am pleased to be able to claim a saving of £10 a year by reducing the setting on my hot water thermostat.í

Oh goody.

And then I read that more than 1.5 million expensively installed smart meters arenít working properly. Apparently, if you have a smart meter installed but switch energy suppliers the meter just stops working.

The truth is that the Government is selling `smart metersí on the idea that they will, by their very presence, save us all money. This is, to be polite, a bare faced lie. Smart meters will only save us money if we change our habits and therefore cut down our consumption of gas and electricity. The idea is that we will see that when we turn the lights on, the electricity consumption goes up. Brilliant.

Oh, and there is another reason why the Government wants us all to have a smart meter. In the United States, law enforcement agencies are trying to obtain information from energy companies without warrants. However, the Seventh US Circuit Court has handed down an opinion that the Fourth Amendment protects energy-consumption data because the data reveals details about private, personal activities in the home that would not be available to the Government without a physical search.

I suspect that when everyone in the UK all has a Government-approved smart meter, the Government will allow law enforcement agencies to obtain all the information they require. And we wonít have any privacy conscious judges to protect us.

The whole smart meter fiasco is due to cost taxpayersí £11 billion (each meter costs at least £374). Personally, Iíd rather have a cheque for £374 and keep my old meters.

We wonít be having smart meters fitted.

Copyright Vernon Coleman November 2018