The data privacy rules that apply to smart meters are to be extended to cover remote access energy meters.
Also known as smart-type, advanced domestic, advanced and AMR meters, these are meters with similar functionality to smart meters in that they remotely send consumption data to the supplier.
Suppliers of smart meters already have to comply with data access and privacy rules for consumption data stored on their meters.
Now, Ofgem, the UK’s regulator for the electricity and gas markets, has announced that domestic and micro business consumers with remote access meters will be entitled to the same control of their energy consumption data as consumers with smart meters.
This ensures fair and consistent treatment of consumers. It also ensures that suppliers have the right incentives to properly explain to consumers the benefits of allowing suppliers to have access to more granular data, Ofgem said.
Detailing its decision, the regulator explained that when accessing consumption data, regardless of the type of meter, suppliers have to comply with general privacy laws such as the Data Protection Act.
However, there are also certain privacy requirements within the supply licence for smart meters which set out the circumstances in which suppliers are able to collect consumption data from smart meters and the type of consent that the supplier is required to get from the consumer before taking data. This allows, in limited circumstances, suppliers to access energy consumption data from consumers without their consent; for example they are able to obtain a meter read required to issue an accurate bill.
These rules will now also apply in respect of consumers with remote access meters.