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Cyber plea on smart meters

Cyber security measures to be an integral part of the UK’s upcoming ‘Smart Metering’, it is claimed.

Briefly, energy suppliers are to replace 53 million meters in homes and small businesses with smart electricity and gas meters by 2020. The costs of installing smart meters, some £10.9 billion, will be borne by consumers through their energy bills. The parliamentary Public Accounts Committee has published a report on the Update on Preparations for Smart Metering.

Responding to the report, Dr Simon Harrison from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), said: “The Public Accounts Committee report does not mention the issue of cyber security. The IET has consistently argued that end to end consideration of cyber security has to be a key feature of the smart metering system, which will become a part of the nation’s critical infrastructure. It is crucial that all possible steps are taken to ensure the smart meter system will stand up to the continuing cyber security threat.

“Smart meters and the smart grid are part of a critical national infrastructure, which should be planned, designed and managed as a system. The most important role for smart meters is to enable the smart grid, which is needed to support increased renewable energy, electric vehicles, domestic heat pumps and to avoid having to dig up a lot of streets to install new electricity infrastructure.

“The smart metering programme is challenging in its own right, but it is the first stage of the building of the smart grid that will be essential for cost effective and secure low carbon electricity in the future. When considering the costs of the smart metering system, it is essential that the features designed to enable a future smart grid are taken into account.

“Our concerns centre around examples of systems engineering, a subject that is currently under-valued in Government. The IET believes that a professional systems architect function needs to be established and will be essential if the UK is to achieve the transition to low carbon electricity securely and affordably.”

For the full report visit http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmselect/cmpubacc/103/103.pdf.


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