Feeds

OFFICIAL: Smart meters won't be compulsory

No offence to refuse in Blighty

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

Vid So-called 'smart meters' will not be mandatory, the energy minister has confirmed. The pledge was made by Charles Hendry last Thursday, and confirmed to us by the Department of Energy and Climate Change today.

The energy minister in the previous Labour government, one Ed Miliband, introduced legislation to make smart meters mandatory for homes and small and medium-sized businesses by 2014 as part of the condition for licensing energy companies. The electronic devices must collect information every 30 minutes, and use wireless chips to phone home. The cost per household, including installation, was estimated at £340 per household, or £9bn countrywide, with customers footing the bill.

The advantages for suppliers are considerable: laying off thousands of employees, including meter readers and call centre staff, introducing per-minute variable pricing, and cutting off the energy supply remotely. It also promised a boom for the IT sector.

But Hendry told the House of Commons that:

We believe that people will benefit from having smart meters, but we will not make them obligatory. If people are concerned about the electromagnetic issues, they will not be required to have one. We have been willing to give assurances to Hon Members on that account.

A DECC spokesman told us:

This is not actually new. While smart metering brings significant benefits, it will not be an offence for householders to refuse to accept a smart meter and we have made it clear that we do not expect suppliers to seek an entry warrant simply to fit smart metering equipment.

Until the licensing conditions for energy utilities change, however, we must assume it's full-speed ahead.

"We are determined to take the scheme forward, with ministerial oversight and safeguards for consumers built in," Hendry said last month.

And it's not just the suppliers who stand to gain from the installation of smart meters. Earlier this week the Wi-Fi Alliance teamed up with the ZigBee crowd at DistribuTECH to demonstrate how marvellously their respective technologies can deliver Smart Grid applications, based on the recently published Smart Energy Profile 2.0.

ZigBee is a low-power mesh-radio technology which has been looking for a killer application for a few years now. It has had some success in industrial settings, but is a prime contender for IP-addressable smart meters.

Voluntary smart meters might not be so compelling, despite this jolly video which would surely convince the most adamant sceptic to sign up:

®

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
Don't even THINK about copyright violation, says Indian state
Pre-emptive arrest for pirates in Karnataka
The police are WRONG: Watching YouTube videos is NOT illegal
And our man Corfield is pretty bloody cross about it
Felony charges? Harsh! Alleged Anon hackers plead guilty to misdemeanours
US judge questions harsh sentence sought by prosecutors
Oz biz regulator discovers shared servers in EPIC FACEPALM
'Not aware' that one IP can hold more than one Website
Apple tried to get a ban on Galaxy, judge said: NO, NO, NO
Judge Koh refuses Samsung ban for the third time
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.