Nearly One-Third of UK Consumers Worry Smart Meters Are Vulnerable to Cybercrime

By   ISBuzz Team
Writer , Information Security Buzz | Jan 08, 2015 05:03 pm PST

With news that the anticipated smart meter roll out across the UK will experience further delays, a new study by software testing specialists SQS reveals that UK consumers are wary of how safe the new technology is, with many concerned that the greater quantities of data available to suppliers is the main reason for the move.

The study of UK consumers by YouGov shows that there is a real worry among consumers (30 percent) that the new smart meter technology set to enter all homes by 2020 is at risk of hacking and cybercrime. Over a third (37 percent) are convinced that smart metering will benefit energy suppliers the most from the installation of smart meters in UK homes, with just 28 percent saying it will be the consumer. At the same time, 56 percent feel that the prospect of acquiring  additional customer data is the real reason for the change.

Just under one in three (27 percent) consumers think that their energy supplier’s track record of inaccurate billing, poor customer service, and delays in problem resolution don’t augur well for success with smart meter implementation. 41 percent of respondents agree that new suppliers who are eager to prove themselves and are not held back by old technologies could potentially provide a better service.

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Half (52 percent) would welcome services, tariffs, and offers that reflect how they actually use energy as well as improved, personalised customer support (22 percent). Also topping the wish list are billing they feel they can trust (48 percent) and a clear understanding of what uses up the most and least amounts of energy in their homes (44 percent).

“The smart meter roll out is a wake-up call for established energy providers,” says Angus Panton, Director of Power and Communications at SQS. “Our study shows that consumers want targeted, value-added services and greater control over their energy use but don’t always trust their existing provider to deliver. There is widespread cynicism about the viability of big IT projects, and 62 percent doubt smart metering will happen in the shifting timeframes. Despite the cynicism, there is an overall customer desire for the advantages and benefits smart meters will deliver.

“The new smart world will generate large volumes of data, and for established suppliers, it is vital the they have high performing, integrated infrastructure in place to capture, secure, and make the most of the real-time data they generate, all day, every day. Now is the time to test everything, and then test it again – or to turn to the experts who can test it for you. There won’t be a second chance to get this right.”

With the ability to switch suppliers becoming easier than ever, not to mention the emergence of new smart meter technology sitting on the horizon, the opportunity for early adopters to gain customers quickly and increase market share is clear. However, it is vital that suppliers, both large and small, take the time to educate their customers on the benefits of this technology to secure confidence and trust ahead of this new technology’s imminent roll out.

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,058 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 5th and 6th November 2014.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

About Software Quality Systems

sqsThe SQS Group (SQS) is the world’s leading specialist in software quality. This position stems from over 30 years of successful consultancy operations. SQS consultants provide solutions for all aspects of quality throughout the whole software product lifecycle driven by a standardised methodology, high offshore automation processes and deep domain knowledge in various industries. Headquartered in Cologne, Germany, the company employs approximately 4,000 staff. SQS has offices in Germany, the UK, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Egypt, Finland, France, India, Ireland, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, the US and the United Arab Emirates. In addition, SQS maintains a minority stake in a company in Portugal. In 2013, SQS generated revenues of 225.8 million Euros.

SQS is the first German company to have a primary listing on the AIM (Alternative Investment Market) in London. In addition, SQS shares are also traded on the German Stock Exchange in Frankfurt am Main.

With over 7,000 completed projects under its belt, SQS has a strong client base, including half of the DAX 30, nearly a third of the STOXX 50 and 20 per cent of the FTSE 100 companies. These include, among others, Allianz, Beazley, BP, Centrica, Commerzbank, Daimler, Deutsche Post, Generali, JP Morgan, Meteor, Reuters, UBS and Volkswagen as well as other companies from the six key industries of SQS.

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