Project Details


Smart meters are electronic appliances which soon will be part of the UK households. The UK government is aiming to complete the roll-out of smart meters by 2020 [1], following an EU directive [2]. This makes this PhD project very timely, impactful and important. Whilst smart meters could allow households to exert more autonomy in their energy consumption and potentially improve their economic situations, smart meters could also be seen as a major intrusion into household’s privacy and discretion to make decisions about their utilities. Apart from the roll-out of smart meters, smart appliances and smart plugs are moving in. They all collect data, which gives a close insight into what is going on in our homes. Legislation might not be enough to stop private companies to monitoring and acting on household, in which case ethically driven action needs to be taken. For this reason and drawing on academic knowledge from the project team, this research aims to address questions like: Is there a way to implement a smart meter, which fulfils all the primary user functions, without the need for centralized data collection and with ethically informed consent/action by designers and users? What are the different, household friendly smart meter configurations and how can they be brought about and appropriately evaluated? Could new configurations influence existing government and private companies ideas about how smart meters are to be managed and used?

Layman's description

This project aims to generate a socio-technical configuration of a smart meter which could take into account ethical issues derived from gathering and analysing household data via smart meters.
Short titleSmart meters
Effective start/end date1/01/1831/12/21