By Bernd Schumacher, Elster EnergyICT
Briefly put: The need for security in smart metering is well understood. But ensuring security from end-to-end means addressing potential issues at each stage of the meter’s lifecycle.
Security issues have attracted more attention as smart meter rollouts have progressed. Consumers have expressed concerns about the privacy of their data, which has led to delays in smart metering programs in the US and the Netherlands. As this was not an area of focus before and there were no specifications in place, in Europe there have been instances of smart metering implementations where the necessary features are not enabled or older forms of encryption are used. The industry is currently working closely with governments and consumer groups to address the issue of security. Technical specifications continue to evolve, while new or revised security and data privacy mandates may still be introduced. The European Commission’s Smart Grids Task Force now requires that security and privacy be addressed even at the pilot stage of a smart metering program. There are also more governments taking the lead on smart metering programs, which often means more involvement from the regulator or national ministry.