Testimony was provided last week at a Congressional hearing regarding “cybersecurity for power systems.”  I plan to address some aspects of this hearing in a separate article, but a surprising admission was given by one of the expert witnesses that I will discuss here.

Mr. Bennett Gaines testified on behalf of FirstEnergy Service Company.  He is a Senior Vice President and the Corporate Services and Chief Information Officer.

Although acknowledging some increased cybersecurity risks due to ‘smart’ meters, Mr. Gaines stated, “But I don’t see it as a huge threat.”

Then, however, Mr. Gaines made a surprising statement regarding the life expectancy of ‘smart’ meters as compared to existing traditional meters:

“These devices are now computers, and so they have to be maintained.  They don’t have the life of an existing meter which is 20 to 30 years.  These devices have a life of between 5 to 7 years.  And so the challenge that the industry has is making sure they maintain their smart grid environment, not neglect it.”

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