Smart Meter Privacy and Security
Smart Meters collect information about electricity use, but there are strict guidelines in place for the use of this information. A recent review established that privacy controls are strong for the collection and disclosure of personal information associated with the implementation of the Smart Meter program.
Energy businesses in Australia must comply with the Federal Privacy Act (1988), which includes the National Privacy Principles. These Principles set clear restrictions on the use, disclosure and storage of personal information.
Access to electricity usage data and other information is restricted – compliance with the Act and Principles, including security processes and staff security checks, are mandatory.
The collection, use and disclosure of metering data by electricity companies is also subject to strict confidentiality rules set out by the Essential Services Commission’s licensing framework and the National Electricity Rules.
For more information visit www.esc.vic.gov.au/public/Energy/
Privacy Impact Assessment Report
An independent investigation into privacy issues around Smart Meters, conducted by Lockstep Consulting, uncovered no unauthorised disclosures from the collection of personal information associated with the implementation of the Smart Meter program.
The report found that:
- privacy controls are strong and metering data is suitably protected
- the security of Smart Meters is well designed – all wireless links are encrypted and this cannot be disabled, and there are strong security governance practices to prevent access to metering data by third parties without consumer consent
- the industry has adopted good information security standards and practice
- in light of the extra data that will be generated as new applications become available, the study made recommendations about ensuring future compliance with the privacy regime .
Smart Meters, and the associated communication networks being rolled out in Victoria, are equipped with security features to prevent unauthorised access.
The wireless links between the meters, distributors and home area networks (HAN) are encrypted and this cannot be disabled. The encrypted wireless link between the meter and the distributor does not use the internet, providing further security.
Electricity companies also have strong management practices in place to prevent access to metering data by third parties without customer consent.
Contact your local distributor for further information on the security measures it uses to protect your privacy.