Science Essay Competition, Smart Meter or Stupid Meter, January 2017

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Late in 2016, IChemE in conjunction with the engineering consultancy firm DNV GL, ran an essay competition for all East Midlands students in Years 10 and 11. The theme for the essay was Smart Meter or Stupid Meter, offering students the opportunity to research the advantages and disadvantages of the government initiative for energy suppliers to install smart meters in every home and business in England, Wales and Scotland by the end of 2020 – the biggest national infrastructure project in our lifetimes.

I am delighted to announce that Ratcliffe College’s Jacob Dawe was awarded first prize for his Smart Meter or Stupid Meter essay. Jacob’s essay was very well written, and he explained his ideas with great confidence. Jacob expertly explained the advantages to the user, such as reduced usage of energy and the reduced costs involved. In addition, Jacob also considered the advantages to the electricity suppliers, such as improved predictability of energy use. Jacob also considered some of the disadvantages of this new technology. Here is a short paragraph taken from Jacob’s essay that really got me thinking:

“The public reaction to the new meters may be challenging. Some may dislike the meters as they give them a ‘big brother’, like somebody is watching them. This could cause unrest in some households. Aside from the obvious feelings of an invasion of privacy, the data could be exceptionally useful to criminals. The smart meters are connected to the Internet of things, allowing energy companies to view your gas and electricity consumption in real time. However, if the data is intercepted or hacked by burglars, it could be used to identify whether a household is away or on holiday. If they are, they are an easy target for robberies! “

I don’t think I would have even considered that!?

Congratulations to Jacob who has won a £30.00 Amazon voucher and winner’s certificate.

Adam Chorley, Head of Science