Smart Meters Hackable?

by | Sep 21, 2009 | Texas Electricity News

Here’s an article that doesn’t really fit the bill of the kind of thing I report on here at Texas Electricity Ratings, but it’s been a slow last few days and I kind of liked this article just because it’s got that touch of intrigue you just don’t see often in the electricity world. The kind of thing you could see slipping into the plot of a movie at some point, right?

Anyway, we’ve discussed the new smart meters a few times on this blog (here, here and here) but never really quite in this context. Usually it’s more along the lines how smart meters can change your bill, how much their instillation is costing you, and generally things that have something to do with the Texas electric market.. This article is interesting because talks about the fact that the new smart meters might be hackable. Yes, Hackable. They’re digital and they contain a processor and software, so some enterprising computer guru might be able to access them and control them to their own purposes. Now, there’s LOTS of possibilities here. Blacking out your home? Check. Blacking out a NEIGHBORHOOD? Check. See what I mean about being in a movie plot sometime in the near future. Now, for my money, I think that the more likely thing you’ll see is someone making a box or piece of simple software that people can use to tap into their smart meter and modify the numbers shown there and lower their bill extensively. We’ve seen similar concepts like this in the form of satellite dishes, where cards can unlock channels and subscriptions for free. That’d be my guess on how this appears widespread. Although there’s more conventional methods to save money on your electricity bill.

Despite the listed potential options, I doubt there’s really much to fear here. Has to be pretty unlikely that terrorists hack into everywhere with a Smart Meter to cause some kind of issue. Although, now that I think about it, I could see Jack Bauer combating something like this on 24. What do you guys think?

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