Landis+Gyr Position: European Data Protection Supervisor’s Opinion on Smart Metering
The debate on data protection and security has often been emotionally charged. The EDPS opinion recognizes the benefits to the consumer and to the European energy supply system enabled by smart metering. At the same time, the EDPS opinion brings rational, sober considerations on data protection into the discussion.
Landis+Gyr, as the world’s leading provider of smart metering solutions, is committed to the highest standards of security in the smart meters and systems we install. Therefore, the company is supportive of efforts such as the EDPS and the BSI in Germany in laying down concrete recommendations and standards in the area of data protection and privacy. Smart metering’s capability to transmit data creates the necessary basis for smart grids. Therefore, the adoption of binding standards – such as the BSI has proposed with its “Protection Profile” – for data protection is of paramount importance.
Until the introduction of smart metering, the energy supply system has been “blind” in the area between the sub-station and the point of consumption (home or building). Thus the deployment of smart metering technology will bring with it the collection of data not previously available. The EDPS is correct in distinguishing between data that is necessary for the provision of energy, the operation of the network, billing, and fraud detection and that data which is personal and in need of special protection. As the European Commission and the EDPS have acknowledged, security by design is essential.
Moreover, the EDPS opinion recognizes that data protection and security measures have a price, and therefore such security measures should be included in any economic assessment of the costs and benefits of smart metering. The creation of a data protection impact assessment template, as the European Commission proposes, would assist in laying down the parameters for such an evaluation.
The issue of data protection and privacy is too sensitive and the benefits to European households from smart metering are too great, not to give this subject the attention it deserves. Landis+Gyr will continue to lend its expertise and work constructively with the European Commission, the EDPS, the German BSI and others to create effective data protection and security measures in order that a European Smart Grid becomes a reality to the benefit of European consumers, industry, and society as a whole.
Landis+Gyr is the leading global provider of integrated energy management products tailored to energy company needs and unique in its ability to deliver true end-to-end advanced metering solutions. Today, the Company offers the broadest portfolio of products and services in the electricity metering industry, and is paving the way for the next generation of smart grid. With annualized sales of more than US$1.5 billion, Landis+Gyr, a standalone growth platform of the Toshiba Corporation (TKY:6502) and 40% owned by the Innovation Network Corporation of Japan, operates in 30 countries across five continents, and employs 5,000 people with the sole mission of helping the world manage energy better. More information is available at landisgyr.com.