In order to meet European targets on CO2 emission, the UK government has directed that new technology be applied in order to promote more efficient energy use within British households. Landis + Gyr, a worldwide supplier of metering products, has entered into an initiative with British Gas to see all mechanical meters within the UK replaced with Smart Meters by 2019.
Smart Metering technologly, being developed in the UK by Landis + Gyr, deploys intelligent meters and display devices capable of communicating over localised Home Area Networks, more commonly referred to as HANs. Radio modems and network controllers extend the reach of the HAN back to the energy suppliers management systems via the GSM network. This innovative use of the mobile communications channel coupled with smart devices enables the consumers to view their energy consumption in real time, and take proactive actions to reduce cost, thus reducing their carbon footprint. Additionally the technology confines the estimated bill to the history books by allowing the energy supplier to deliver a cost effective, optimised and accurate service tailored to the needs of the individual consumer, without the need to make costly and intrusive site visits.
Future innovations, envisged by the designers at Landis + Gyr, see a more direct role for the energy supplier in managing energy consumption, through the deployment of network components that can be remotely switched as part of a modern day equivalent to Economy Seven. With these innovations, homeowners can connect power hungry appliances to remotely controlled circuits that are only active during off peak periods; removing the nagging doubt we may have all felt at one time or another regarding the iron or cooker we think we may have left on whilst at work.
Approach & Added Value
Unsurprisingly, Smart Meters use cryptographic keys and algorithims to secure all the local and remote messaging within the metering network.Due to their position of expertise within IT security, Consult Hyperion have recently been engaged by Landis and Gyr to undertake a high level review of their production facilities in Peterborough and Stockport . The object of the review was to identify potential areas of weakness in Landis + Gyr’s production processes in relation to the handling of cryptographic materials during the manufacture of smart meters. Landis + Gyr accept that security starts at the beginning and that any service architecture, no matter how secure, can be seriously compromised if the constituent parts are not handled securely. The work was completed in early August and a comprehensive set of recommendations were delivered to Landis + Gyr.