Data privacy and security absolutely crucial for successful smart meter rollouts, says Elster


London, U.K. — (METERING.COM) — May 24, 2011 – Data privacy is absolutely crucial in the development of our smart society, says Richard St Clair, managing director of Elster Metering Systems UK.

The British energy market is facing a massive transformation by installing 49 million smart meters in 30 million homes and businesses across the country by 2019. Elster is presenting a data security and privacy workshop at the upcoming Smart Metering UK & Ireland conference in London, where some of the U.K. and Ireland’s largest utilities, E.ON, British Gas, EDF, ESB and RWE npower, will engage with the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) about the smart meter rollout plans.

“The privacy question has to be answered to make smart metering a success and the acceptance of consumers is a main driver,” says St Clair. He continues: “Consumers need to be able to trust the authorized users of their data so new services and solutions that genuinely help people can be developed and delivered on a needs basis.”

Greater choice for consumers
St Clair says the wholesale change over to smart meters in the U.K. will induce a paradigm shift in how consumers approach energy consumption and energy suppliers approach their relationship with their customers. He explains: “The infrastructure created by smart metering will enable a more dynamic relationship between supply and demand providing greater choice for consumers and the ability for energy suppliers to tailor tariffs and energy management solutions to specific customer needs. This infrastructure will further influence the way new technologies such as electric vehicles will integrate with society through home, work and public charging capability.”

Personal and technical data
There are many different aspects of data security and privacy, according to Elster’s St Clair. “Firstly, we believe that data that doesn’t need to leave the home should stay in the home – there are many services and benefits to consumers from the provision of real time information within the home.” He adds: “This information is straight forward to secure. Security and privacy are both paramount. Once data is to be transmitted outside the home then both security and privacy need to be best in class to provide the trust necessary to build all the potential benefits of a smart society.”

Elster understands the challenge: simplicity and integrity
St Clair says Elster is one of the few organizations that has an end-to-end capability from meters and in-home devices through home area networks and wide area communications into head-ends and meter data management services in the back office. He continues: “We are at the forefront of data security techniques and can look at the end to end security issues that many other vendors cannot. An essential part of any security solution is simplicity and integrity, having this end to end experience and capability gives us this perspective.”  

Other smart meter experts who will be at Smart Metering UK & Ireland include:

  • Richard Leyland, Head Smart Meter Program Team, Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), UK
  • Ashley Pocock, FIET, Head of Industry Change, Regulation and External Affairs, Smart Metering Project Transformation, EDF Energy, UK
  • Karl Popham, CIO, Austin Energy, USA
  • Susan Furnell, Head of Smart Strategy, RWE npower, UK
  • Neil McGuiness, Manager, Smart Metering Project, ESB, Ireland
  • Dean Keeling, MD Smart Homes, British Gas- Centrica, UK
  • Jason Brogden, Smart Metering Program Manager, Energy Retail Association, UK
  • Zoe McLeod, Principal Policy Advocate, Consumer Focus, UK
  • Howard Porter, Chief Executive Officer, BEAMA, UK
  • Cathy Mannion, Director, Electricity Networks and Retail, Commission for Energy Regulation, UK
  • Gill Owen, Director, Sustainability First, UK
  • Aidan O’Neill, Chief Executive, PrePayPower, Ireland
  • James Pace, Senior Director of Business Development, Silver Spring Networks, UK

Event dates and location: 2-3 June 2011, Millennium Gloucester Hotel, Kensington, London.

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