Homeowners could be tempted to fit smart meters to help save money on their energy bills this winter. However, experts have warned there could be downsides to the fittings as well, including making households more vulnerable to burglaries.
Energy suppliers currently take smart meter readings on a monthly basis, but this is set to increase to as much as 48 times a day, as people try to cut down on their energy usage in response to soaring charges, This is Money reported.
Consequently, this is making it easier for hackers to access information about homeowners, such as when they are not at home as their energy readings are considerably lower.
Nick Hunn, strategist for technology firm WiFore, told the publication: “Smart meters are vulnerable to hacking – with the encrypted security measures for communication in some of them providing little more than a sticking plaster against a cyber hack.”
This means criminals will find it easier to work out when homes are empty, and they can target these empty properties.
Sue Davies, head of consumer protection policy at consumer group Which?, suggested homeowners who are worried about smart meter data security should tell their energy supplier they cannot use this information for sales and marketing.
She also suggested not allowing smart meter data to be sent to the supplier too frequently, as this allows criminals to access real-time information about energy usage.
There could be a surge in households opting for smart readers this winter, as the National Grid Electricity System Operator is believed to announce plans to offer rebates for users who do not switch on appliances during peak hours, between 1700 and 2000.
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