Britain’s smart meter consumer engagement, privacy and security rules set out


Baroness Verma,
Energy and Climate
Change Minister
London, England — (METERING.COM) — December 13, 2012 – Britain’s government has reached what it describes as another milestone in the nation’s smart meter rollout with the publication of the rules for consumer engagement, privacy, and security.

Among the key conclusions of the consumer engagement strategy review are that a new Central Delivery Body (CBD) will be established by the larger suppliers by June 2013, to provide a program of centralized engagement to build consumer confidence in the installation of smart meters and to contribute to the realization of the consumer benefits, particularly related to reducing energy consumption.

Key conclusions of the data access and privacy review are:

  • Consumers should be able easily to access their own smart metering energy consumption data, and share it with third parties, should they choose to.The in-home display will be a key means by which consumers will interact with the smart meter and the information it can provide, and suppliers will be required to offer these free of charge.
  • Suppliers will be able to access monthly energy consumption data for billing and other regulated purposes. Otherwise, consumers will have choice about whether their supplier can access their energy consumption data. The onus will be on suppliers to explain clearly to consumers what data will be accessed, for which purposes, and how consumers can easily exercise their choices about this.
  • Network operators will be able to access domestic consumers’ energy consumption data, including half-hourly energy consumption data, for regulated purposes, provided that they aggregate or otherwise anonymise the data, and that these plans have been approved by DECC or Ofgem.

“The consumer comes first,” said Energy and Climate Change minister, Baroness Verma. “That’s why we are tackling issues such as privacy, security, consumer protection and communications now, working with industry and consumer groups to make sure we get this right ahead of the mass rollout.”

Other new decisions include the monitoring and evaluation framework for the smart meter rollout, under which the energy suppliers will be required to report to government annually on their plans and progress.

Also new is an obligation on the suppliers to operate secure smart metering systems during the period before the central data and communications company goes live.

The government has also published a further consultation on implementing the Energy Efficiency Directive provision that requires consumers with smart meters to have easy access to at least 24 months of consumption data. Of several options considered the preferred one is to increase the current 13-month storage capability of the smart metering equipment (and the communications hubs for gas) up to 24 months, and to require suppliers to provide access to this data via the internet on consumer request.