Smart New World?
Funds for Climate and Energy; Programme "New Energies 2020"
- Austrian Academy of Sciences, Institute of Technology Assessment, Vienna
- e-commerce monitoring Gmbh, Vienna
Smart metering is discussed as a mechanism to contribute to a sustainable energy system, by enabling consumers to better manage their energy consumption and reduce their carbon footprint. So far the discussion about smart metering focused on technical issues and economic feasibility, whereas insufficient weight has been given to the potential consumer risk and experiences of smart metering. There are still many unresolved issues such as distribution of implementation cost, standardisation, complexity of billing through individualised tariffs, social inequality, if cheap tariffs are related to specific times of the day. Above all data protection and privacy is of primary concern as smart metering inherently creates data privacy and security risks because of the information they collect.
A nationwide rollout of smart meters does not automatically ensure a successful diffusion of energy efficiency in the households. Only a technology design based on the needs of the users will lead to acceptance and adoption and ensure the best outcome for consumers and society.
Aim of the project was to bring socially relevant issues and the perspective of the consumers in the discussion about smart metering in order to ensure a technology design which is socially sound, considering fundamental rights and user needs. Special emphasis was put on the issue of data security and privacy. The project team developed scenarios for an effective and acceptable integration of smart meters into the energy system in a participatory process involving different groups of stakeholders.