This Weeks News
Ofgem mulls review of suppliers’ emergency plan for smart meter users
It has written an open letter setting out its expectations that suppliers will put in place emergency arrangements for both gas and electricity meters to ensure customers are protected during the smart meter rollout.
Currently, gas Post Emergency Metering Services (PEMS) are provided following an emergency call-out on a gas distribution network (GDNs) and can, for example, involve the replacement of a meter. Gas PEMS are currently an industry led process and commercial PEMS contracts are in place between GDNs and the majority of suppliers.
However, there are no equivalent arrangements between distribution network operators and suppliers for electricity meters.
Ofgem states it is each supplier’s responsibility to provide emergency metering services for their customers and they should be in place ahead of the activation of the New and Replacement Obligation (NRO) in the supply licences.
The NRO will require suppliers to take all reasonable steps to install a compliant smart meter where a meter is replaced or where it is installed for the first time, for example in new buildings.
Jacqui Russell, Head of Smart Metering at Ofgem adds: “All suppliers should have emergency metering services in place for all their gas and electricity customers using smart meters.
“We do not have a preference for how emergency metering services are delivered but we expect suppliers’ solutions to be compliant with the existing regulatory framework. If an industry wide solution is developed, we would expect all suppliers to be offered equal access.”
‘All energy suppliers vulnerable to cyber attacks’
Power utilities are poorly equipped to deal with increasingly frequent and unpredictable cybersecurity threats.
That’s according to a survey of 1,200 global utilities conducted by consultancy EY, in which all organisations responding said their defences against hackers did not match up to their needs.
It also found 58% of these companies in the energy sector anticipate difficulties in monitoring their their digital network, compared with only 36% across other sectors and industries.
The report highlights how increasingly disruptive new technologies are making it harder for companies to predict, understand and manage risks.
Despite being aware of the rising threat level, as many as 85% of those responding to the survey said they have not implemented a strong incident response programme with regular crisis scenario training.
Nearly half identified financial constraints as one of the main reasons they are not adequately prepared for attacks on their digital systems.
Matt Chambers, EY Global Power and Utilities Risk and Cybersecurity Leader, said: “An expanding digital ecosystem with potentially millions of networked access points is exposing utilities to more sophisticated and frequent cyber attacks, which have the potential to disrupt critical infrastructure.
“It is little surprise, therefore, that they are more worried than ever about the breadth and complexity of the evolving threat landscape