BC Hydro smart metering privacy and security being taken seriously but areas for improvement, privacy commissioner reports


Elizabeth Denham,
BC Information and
Privacy Commissioner
Victoria, BC, Canada — (METERING.COM) — January 4, 2012 – BC Hydro is taking privacy and security seriously as it develops a framework for the implementation of smart meters and a smart grid, but there are areas for improvement, British Columbia’s Information and Privacy Commissioner Elizabeth Denham finds in a report released late last month.

The report, which was made in response to complaints and correspondence from around 600 individuals, found that BC Hydro is complying with the Freedom of Information and Protection and Privacy Act with regard to the collection, use, disclosure, protection and retention of the personal information of its customers. However, the company is not in compliance with regard to the notification it provides to its customers about smart meters.

“BC Hydro is required by law to tell their customers the purpose for collecting personal information for the smart meters project, what legal authority they have to do so and to provide contact information for a BC Hydro employee who can answer any questions that arise regarding collection, but is not currently meeting this requirement,” said Denham.

In response the Commissioner has offered a series of 14 recommendations to help BC Hydro improve its customer notification. Among these the utility must develop more comprehensive web pages and paper notices on the project, and it should designate an individual with responsibility for privacy within the organization.

It is also recommended that if in the future, BC Hydro becomes involved in offering its customers the option of disclosing their consumption information to third parties, it should take reasonable steps to ensure that the third parties are transparent about their personal information practices

BC Hydro is currently deploying smart meters for its more than 1.8 million customers, and has committed to put action plans in place to address the recommendations.