Smart meters could be data privacy minefield

If Canada’s experience is anything to go by, the rocketing volume of data that UK utilities will collect because of smart metering could come as a shock. This was the […]

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By Vicky Ellis

If Canada’s experience is anything to go by, the rocketing volume of data that UK utilities will collect because of smart metering could come as a shock.

This was the warning heard by UK and EU companies at the Marketforce and ASI’s first European Smart Metering Forum in London today.

Once smart metering enters common use after a mass rollout in 2014, UK customers and suppliers will be able to see up to the minute details of energy use in the home or workplace.

Norm Fraser, Chief Operating Officer at Hydro Ottawa, which recently installed smart meters across Ontario, Canada, found this an unexpected minefield.

Mr Fraser told the audience: “We underestimated the amount of data and the enormous complexity of it. What do we do with this data? Is it valuable? Yes, but we need a plan for it.”

He said that companies involved with smart metering needed to be wary of privacy issues with the data. Many Canadian companies had no idea who owned the rights to the data and warned that this could be an issue in future.

Patricia de Suzzoni, Advisor to the Chair at the French Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE) had earlier told the audience that Dutch citizens had vetoed a proposed law to rollout smart meters on the grounds that they could be a breach of privacy.

However, Mr Fraser added that such concerns could eventually prove to be a “storm in a teapot”.