Dutch electricity network companies told the government that they want the functionality to shut off devices remotely removed from the specifiation for smart meters. And, as Energeia.nl reports, the Dutch government agrees.

As I wrote earlier, I and many observers agree this functionality would do more harm than good (think: security nightmares of malicious hackers shutting thousands of houses off). Now, several experts (DNV Kema, TNO and Radboud University) officially agreed, which tipped the opinion of the ministry of economic affairs.

The main point is that providing the necessary cyber security for this functionality over the whole lifetime of the meters (>30 years) would be too expensive. In addition, experts advised network companies (who agreed) that they would probably not use this functionality to balance out supply and demand anyway, so a possible benefit broke away, as well. A non-economical point would be that no-one wants to live in a house with a shut-off button someone else controls.

The only main functionality of smart meters that remains in the specification now is the ability to transmit current usage information to retailers and/or network companies. The Dutch plan is to make network companies offer a smart meter to every household until 2020. Reportedly, only 3% of households rejected one in trials, so a ratio of 80% among all households until 2020 is in principle possible.

This is only a development in the small Netherlands, but as the reasons were formulated in economic terms and discussions have started in other countries (e.g. the UK, as reported in my earlier article I linked above), we can be hopeful that one of the potentially worst technological ideas in a long time will not be implemented after all.

19 Nov 2013 - 22:51
# lastedited 20 Nov 2013
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