Brussels, Belgium --- (METERING.COM) --- March 15, 2012  - The European Commission has issued recommendations and a set of minimum functionalities for smart metering systems in Europe.

The recommendations cover data security and protection measures, and also include a methodology for a long term cost-benefit analysis.

Currently only 10 percent of European households have some sort of smart meter installed. Where economically worthwhile, 80 percent of all electricity meters in the EU have to be replaced by smart meters by 2020. In this regard member states are required to complete a cost-benefit analysis by September 3, 2012.

The recommendation is aimed to ensure “the fundamental right to protection of personal data” and sets out the procedure for undertaking a data protection impact assessment describing the envisaged processing operations, an assessment of the risks to the rights and freedoms of data subjects, the measures envisaged to address the risks, safeguards, security measures and mechanisms to ensure the protection of personal data.

A “data protection by design” and “data protection by default” approach is recommended to ensure data is protected with only the minimum level of personal information collected. However, as much as possible, data should be anonymized so that the individual is no longer identifiable.

The common minimum functional requirements for smart meters are as follows:

  • For the customer:
    • Provide readings directly to the customer and any third party designated by the consumer.
    • Update the readings frequently enough to allow the information to be used to achieve energy savings.
  • For the metering operator:
    • Allow remote reading of meters by the operator.
    • Provide two-way communication between the smart metering system and external networks for maintenance and control of the metering system.
    • Allow readings to be taken frequently enough for the information to be used for network planning.
  • For commercial aspects of energy supply:
    • Support advanced tariff systems.
    • Allow remote on/off control of the supply and/or flow or power limitation.
  • For security and data protection:
    • Provide secure data communications.
    • Fraud prevention and detection.
  • For distributed generation:
    • Provide import/export and reactive metering.

Member states are required to take all necessary measures to follow the recommendation and to draw it to the attention of stakeholders.

The Commission says it intends to assess, in the light of the recommendation, the economic appraisals reported on the rollout of smart metering.