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Smart meters: Privacy, security of information now under review

A message from BC Hydro's Greg Reimer:

The BC Information and Privacy Commissioner has announced a review of the security and privacy of customer data collection through the smart meter program.

As we take the responsibility of protecting the privacy and security of personal information very seriously, we’ve made it a top priority of the program.

We have worked with the Commissioner’s Office over the past few months and will continue to work closely with their office to put in place the strongest possible privacy standards, and to ensure privacy is built into the entire smart grid system.

We believe that information will be private and secure with smart meters in place because:

  • Smart meters cannot detect how someone uses electricity or which appliances are being used – they only measure how much energy a home used or generated in total.
  • This is the same electricity consumption data we always have collected, just more frequently – up to three or four times per day rather than once every two months.
  • We will have no access to real-time consumption information. Real-time data will only be made available if someone chooses to receive it.
  • The information we collect with smart meters will be handled in accordance with the BC Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act – just as it is now with your existing meter. We will not sell or disclose personal information to third parties.
  • Information is encrypted much like on-line banking.
  • In-depth security has been designed into every element of the program and we have hired online experts to test our systems and develop the strongest possible protections.

BC Hydro has been collecting electricity consumption information for 50 years and British Columbians can count on us to continue to protect personal information and to work closely with the B.C. Privacy Commissioner’s office to ensure we are meeting the highest possible standards.

For more information, visit the Smart Metering Program pages.

Greg Reimer, executive vice-president
Transmission and Distribution, BC Hydro