The Hague, Netherlands — (METERING.COM) — April 14, 2009 – Smart meters will not be compulsory in the Netherlands, minister of economic affairs Maria van der Hoeven has decided.
Van der Hoeven had intended to make smart meters compulsory, with a refusal to install them punishable with a fine of up to €17,000 or six months in prison. However, after vigorous campaigning by consumer organizations and privacy watchdog groups on privacy concerns with smart meter data it became clear that a majority of parliamentarians would vote against compulsory smart metering. As a result van der Hoeven has backed down and moved to make the installation of smart meters voluntary.
The Dutch consumer association, Consumentenbond, has long opposed a mandatory rollout of smart meters. A report commissioned by the association from the University of Tilburg last November stated that the introduction of smart meters would constitute a violation of the consumers’ right to privacy and the freedom to do as they please within their homes, and consequently would be in breach of the European Convention of Human Rights. The frequent meter reads would give information about the habits and living patterns of consumers, such as when they enter or leave the house. There was also a risk of such information falling into the hands of a third party.
Moreover Consumentenbond maintains, it is not obvious that smart meters would lead to energy saving by consumers.