Safe, secure and private: the smart meters protecting your data
29th June 2020
In the second post in our series, we’re looking at those smart meter myths which prey on fears about data security and the right to privacy.
Data privacy is a big concern, and rightly so. That’s why keeping your personal information safe is of paramount importance to us. Once again, we’ve enlisted our Director of Data & Data Science, Bjoern Reinke, to help us debunk these myths. Read on to learn more.
How safe is my electricity consumption data?
One myth is that your smart meter and electricity consumption data can be hacked. However, you’ve got nothing to worry about. Your smart meter will communicate with your electricity supplier via the Data Communications Company (DCC).
Regulated by Ofgem, the DCC has built and maintains the high-security network that smart meters use to send data to your supplier. It built this robust network with input from a Government department (DECC, which became BEIS). This was to make sure the level of encryption protects your electricity consumption data from hackers and attackers.
Not even the DCC can read your electricity data. It’s encrypted before it reaches them and is sent to your supplier without them being able to see it.
Will my electricity usage data be sold to other companies?
Your usage data is treated like any other personal information: we respect it, treat it appropriately, and don’t sell it to other companies. Only the relevant data is transmitted, and only your electricity supplier can see it.
We’ll use your consumption data to make sure you’re being billed accurately. We’ll also use this data to help us to develop new products and services and, potemtially, to recommend you an alternative tariff.
Will my electricity consumption data be used to work out my personal routines? // Are smart meters just 'big Brother' devices, designed to impinge on privacy?
It’s true that smart meters provide much more detailed information to your electricity supplier about your consumption. However, this information is only used to make sure you’re accurately billed, and to help suppliers deliver innovative products and services.
To do this, your smart meter records your usage every 30 minutes, giving your supplier a much more detailed picture of your electricity use. However, you can choose whether to share half-hourly, daily or monthly reads.
With access to your consumption data, you can see how your electricity use changes throughout the day. This can help you to make behavioural changes such as shifting your power use to different times of day, so saving money and electricity.
There’s always more to a headline than meets the eye. We hope Bjoern’s been able to put your mind at ease about security, data and privacy. We’ll be back again soon with Bjoern to debunk some more smart meter myths.
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