Data, safety, security and health
- Can smart meters be hacked?
- Security has been at the heart of the smart meter rollout programme from the beginning, and the system has been specifically designed to prevent hacking. Smart meters do not use the Internet, and they have their own closed, dedicated communications system. Smart meters have been designed with top cyber security experts, including the government and GCHQ, to ensure that security best practice has been incorporated at every stage.
- What data is stored in the smart meter?
The only data stored in your smart meter is your energy usage data, your meter's MPAN or MPRN number and information about your tariff. Your personal details, such as your name and address, are never stored in the meter.
You own your consumption data - only your supplier has access to it and it can't be shared with any third parties without your explicit consent.
- Can I access my energy usage data?
Yes. Your in-home display stores a cycle of 13 month's energy use data and you'll be able to see it directly on the device itself.
Some energy suppliers are also offering their customers access to their smart meter data via other methods, for example apps and/or an online portal. Please contact your supplier to find out what services they are using.
- Do smart meters transmit data to my supplier continuously?
No. How often you want it to happen is up to you. You choose how often you want to share your meter reading with your supplier. The minimum is on a monthly basis, but you can also decide to share your reading daily and half-hourly.
- Will suppliers know which appliances I'm using?
- No. Smart meters measure general household energy use only. You will personally be able to establish the energy use of particular appliances by turning them on and checking your in-home display, but there is no way that a supplier would be able to know if you had just boiled your kettle, for example. Any information about whether individual appliances within your home are on or off is neither available nor transmitted to your energy supplier.
- Will energy suppliers be able to cut off my electricity?
You're protected by strict regulations against your energy supplier switching off or disconnecting your gas or electricity supply. This protection remains as strong with smart meters as it is with traditional meters. There are strict rules set by Ofgem relating to disconnection.
Switching off someone's energy supply is the end of a long and legal process for suppliers to undertake, and the process itself is the same with smart meters as it is with traditional meters - there's no change to this.
If you want to know more about this, then Ofgem has more information about this here.
- Are smart meters safe for my health?
Smart meters are safe. Safety is and always has been the number one priority in this industry. Smart meters haven't changed that.
Public Health England sees no risk or dangers to health from smart meters. The smart meters used in Britain have undergone one of the most rigorous safety testing regimes and exceed every UK and EU safety standard. You can find the hallmarks of this safety compliance on your smart meter itself, which will show CE and MID markings.
Public Health England has also said that exposure to radio waves from smart meters is well within guideline levels - typically one million times less than guideline levels, and much lower than items we use every day, such as microwaves, TVs and mobile phones.
What's more, smart meters transmit these low levels of radio waves infrequently - most of the time they're not transmitting anything.
There is more information about this on Government website.
If you're interested in seeing the peer-reviewed research, then you can click here.
- Will the smart meter interfere with my pacemaker?
Smart meters should not interfere with pacemakers but you should contact your doctor directly if you are concerned.
All smart meters in Great Britain are required to comply with the relevant safety legislation, and they have undergone one of the most rigorous safety testing regimes in the world, exceeding every UK and EU safety standard. Public Health England, the agency which protects and promotes the nation's health, has said that it sees no risk to health from smart meters.
Nevertheless, you would need to contact the relevant authority (for example your doctor or the manufacturer of the pacemaker) for assurance as to how your particular pacemaker works in relation to existing radio devices in your home, including smart meters.
- Do I need to insure my smart meter?
- The meters in your home - both smart and traditional - are the responsibility of your energy supplier. You wouldn't insure your traditional meter, which means you don't have to do so with smart meters.
- How experienced are smart meter installers?
Smart meter installer training and testing is of an incredibly high standard. It can take up to two years to become a smart meter installer and the training must be equivalent to NVQ level 2. Installer work is audited, they are subject to ongoing spot checks to ensure standards are upheld and they are also mentored by experienced colleagues.