B.C. privacy commissioner critical of smart meter program
The province’s privacy watchdog says B.C. Hydro has not been providing customers with adequate notification about its smart meter installation project.
In a new report, information and privacy commissioner Elizabeth Denham finds the Crown corporation has failed to fully comply with the B.C. Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
“B.C. Hydro is required by law to tell their customers the purpose for collecting personal information for the smart meters project, what legal authority they have to do so and to provide contact information for a B.C. Hydro employee who can answer any questions that arise regarding collection,” Denham said in a statement.
“Hydro is not currently meeting this requirement, and we've made some recommendations to help them improve their customer notification,” Denham said.
In her report released today (December 19), the privacy commissioner recommends B.C. Hydro address the problem by providing customers with better information online and in print.
Denham launched a review of the smart meter program following an outcry from British Columbians concerned about privacy and security.
In July, B.C. Hydro started replacing older meters with digital smart meters as part of an effort to modernize its electricity network. The Crown corporation says the upgrades will allow for improved measurement of how power is used by homes and businesses.
With the new technology, B.C. Hydro can track power consumption on an hourly basis instead of on a bi-monthly or monthly basis.
In her report, Denham also found B.C. Hydro has complied with provincial privacy law regarding how the information about energy consumption is being collected, used, and protected.
“It is clear from my investigation that B.C. Hydro is taking privacy and security seriously as it develops a framework for the implementation of smart meters and a smart grid. But there are areas for improvement,” Denham said.
According to Denham, B.C. Hydro has pledged to take steps to address all 14 recommendations her report.