Insights / Security, data and privacy: setting the record straight on smart meters

Security, data and privacy: setting the record straight on smart meters

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; keeping your personal information safe is of paramount importance to us. Once again, we’ve enlisted Bjoern’s help to debunk these myths. Read on and become enlightened.

14 of the oddest things we’ve read about smart meters

Smart meters will help hackers get their hands on my energy data

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Are you concerned that your energy consumption data will be hacked and used by ill-intentioned individuals for nefarious means?

You’ve got nothing to worry about. Smart meters communicate with your energy supplier via a secure wireless network built and maintained by the Data Communications Company (DCC).

This works similarly to other technologies like mobile phones and Wi-Fi routers, and your consumption data is encrypted to a high standard. The government departments DECC and GCHQ worked with the DCC to ensure this network at least matches the standard used by banks (we think this is really cool; you can find out more here).

My energy data will be sold to other companies

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Selling your energy consumption data is not something that energy suppliers plan to do. Smart meter data is totally private and is only used to make sure that you’re accurately billed.

Not even the DCC can read your electricity data. It’s encrypted before it reaches them and sent to your energy supplier without them being able to see it. Like a parcel courier: they receive a sealed package and know where to deliver it to, but they don’t know what’s inside.

We will only share your name, address and contact information with our partners who will install your smart meter. Only your energy supplier will see your consumption data, which we may use to help develop new products and services.

My smart meter data will be used to work out my personal routines // Smart meters are Big Brother devices that will impinge on my privacy rights

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Here, we’re tackling two myths at once. Smart meters do provide much more detailed information to your supplier about your usage patterns, but this information isn’t used to figure out when you’re in the shower, or when you’re cooking your dinner.

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Rather, the aim is to be able to show you how behavioural changes - such as shifting your energy use to different times of day - can save you money and help to reduce demand on the energy network.

To do this, your smart meter records your usage every 30 minutes. From 3 November 2022, the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) have changed the rules around sharing half hourly data. This applies to all energy suppliers and is not specific to Opus Energy. The more data shared, the more tailored our energy efficiency advice can be to your business. Find out more

There you have it: there’s always more to a headline than meets the eye. We hope Bjoern has bene able to put your mind at ease about security, data and privacy. Keep your eyes peeled for the next post in this series.

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