Smart Metering and Privacy in Europe: Lessons from the Dutch Case
The future of energy supply lies in smart grids, which enable energy supply to and from consumers. These two-way energy networks require smart energy metering systems. The vision of smart grids will require one or more decades yet to be fully realised, but since a roll-out of smart meters is a lengthy process, countries are already starting to implement smart metering legislation, following the European legal framework on energy efficiency. Rolling out smart meters, however, requires smart legislation. The Dutch example, where the Senate blocked two smart metering bills in 2009, demonstrates that introducing smart meters can be significantly delayed if the underlying legislation is flawed. In particular, the Dutch case shows that privacy is a crucial element in smart metering legislation. Energy consumption reveals details of personal life, in the most privacy-sensitive place – the home, and therefore smart metering has to strike a careful balance between detailed energy metering and privacy protection.
In this paper, we present the recent developments in smart metering and describe the Dutch case in detail. From this, we draw key lessons for countries that want to introduce smart metering. In terms of substance, the level of detail of smart meter readings and the mandatory or voluntary character of smart meters are crucial issues to take into account. Legislators must make a trade-off between the ‘smartness’ of the meter versus a comprehensive, mandatory roll-out. In terms of procedure, a privacy impact assessment is vital, and pitfalls of function creep should be avoided by resisting the temptation of making a meter ‘too smart’ all at once. From the outset, privacy and data protection law must be taken into account as an important requirement for the design of smart metering systems.
KeywordsPersonal Data Data Protection Smart Grid Grid Operator Energy Supplier
- Article 29 Working Party, Opinion 12/2011 on smart metering, WP 183, 4 Apr 2011.Google Scholar
- Cuijpers, Colette. 2011. Slim kiezen bij slimme meters. Privacy and Informatie 14–3: 131–141.Google Scholar
- De Hert, Paul, and Dariusz Kloza. 2011. The challenges to privacy and data protection posed by smart grids. In Europäische Projektkultur als Beitrag zur Rationalisierung des Rechts, ed. E. Schweighofer and F. Kummer. Tagungsband des 14. Internationalen Rechtsinformatik Symposions IRIS 2011, Wien, 191–196.Google Scholar
- ESMA. Annual report on the progress in smart metering 2009. http://www.esma-home.eu/UserFiles/file/ESMA_WP5D18_Annual_Progress_Report_2009%281%29.pdf. Accessed 17 Aug 2012.
- Greveler, U., Justus, B. and D. Löhr. 2011. Hintergrund und experimentelle Ergebnisse zum Thema “Smart Meter und Datenschutz”, Arbeitspapier1 – Technischer Report, Status: ENTWURF, Version 0.6. http://www.its.fh-muenster.de/greveler/pubs/smartmeter_sep11_v06.pdf. Accessed 17 Aug 2012.
- Jawurek, M., and M. Johns. 2011. Security challenges of a changing energy landscape. In ISSE 2010 securing electronic business processes: Highlights of the information security solutions Europe 2010 convention, ed. N. Pohlmann, H. Reimer, and W. Schneider, 249–259. Wiesbaden: Springer Fachmedien.Google Scholar
- Molina-Markham, Andrés et al. 2010. Private memoirs of a smart meter BuildSys. Zurich. http://www.cs.umass.edu/∼kevinfu/papers/molina-markham-buildsys10.pdfAccessed 17 Aug 2012
- NIST Smart Grid Interoperability Panel – Cyber Security Working Group. Aug 2010. Guidelines for smart grid cyber security: Vol. 2, privacy and the smart grid. NISTIR 7628. Available from: http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/nistir/ir7628/nistir-7628_vol2.pdf. Accessed at August 17 2012.
- Renner, Stephan et al. 2009. European smart metering landscape report smartRegions deliverable 2.1. http://www.smartregions.net/default.asp?SivuID=26927.
- Smart Meters Co-ordination Group (SMCG) Standardization mandate to CEN, CENELEC and ETSI in the field of measuring instruments for the development of an open architecture for utility meters involving communication protocols enabling Interoperability M/441, FINAL REPORT, Version 0.7 – 2009-12-10. http://www.piio.pl/dok/SMCG_Sec0013_DC.pdf. Accessed 17 Aug 2012.
- Task Force Smart Grids, Expert Group 1 (EG1). Dec 2010. Functionalities of smart grids and smart meters. Final Deliverable. http://ec.europa.eu/energy/gas_electricity/smartgrids/doc/expert_group1.pdf. Accessed 17 Aug 2012.