Round-up: UK smart meters, smart devices and asset protection


The UK Smart Metering Programme hasn’t had a lot of good press and in a lengthy and well reasoned contribution, Engerati member Nick Hunn adds further fuel to the fire, writes Jonathan Spencer Jones, content analyst at Engerati, the sister website to Metering & Smart Energy International. [UK Parliament Calls for Evidence on Smart Metering Programme]

His objection isn’t to smart meters per se but his view that the programme will fail to deliver most of the potential benefits of smart metering, instead saddling consumers with the cost of a lot of obsolete smart device technology.

In the article he responds to each of the points in the Parliamentary Science and Technology Committee’s evidence check with suggested actions it should follow up to improve the evidence base.

Smart devices going dumb?

We are used to occasional failures after loading firmware updates to a PC but tolerance levels seem to be lower when it happens to other devices such as a smart thermostat.

The device doesn’t work properly and in the latest in what have been a series of outages for the Nest, the bug forced the device’s batteries to drain.

Beside the frustration caused, these events are raising the security concerns of a major outage as homes become increasingly filled with smart devices. Is this going to lead to a dumbing down – or ‘strategic downgrading’ – by consumers, we ask? [A Return To The “Dumb” Home?]

Investing in smart energy

The diversifying energy mix is placing new demands on companies to manage their investment over the life cycle of these assets.

San Francisco-based Mercatus has just raised US$11.7 million to enhance its investment management platform, particularly around asset finance management, and to get the platform into new markets such as Asia.

“Customers don’t want a solar quote or a wind quote – they want an energy solution and they are getting smart about recognizing that need,” CEO Haresh Patel told Engerati. [Meeting The Investment Challenge in The Changing Energy Market]

Are your ‘crown jewels’ protected?

And the recent cyber attack on Ukraine’s power grid and what turned out to be a false alarm for Israel’s National Electric Authority highlights both the reality and the disruptive effects of such events. [Electricity Authorities Face Severe Cybersecurity Attacks]

Once again we warn that cyber security shouldn’t be an afterthought and while there is evidence that utilities are starting to work on their cybersecurity issues, there is still a great deal of work to be done, according to Rohde & Schwarz key account manager Marius Münstermann in an interview.

Identify and prioritise the ‘crown jewels’, i.e. the assets that essentially drive the business forward, he advises. [Prioritising Cybersecurity As “Tomorrow May Be Too Late”]