digitisation of the energy transition; Source: Fotolia.com/Gerhard Seybert

© Fotolia.com/Gerhard Seybert

The Act on the Digitisation of the Energy Transition heralds the launch of the smart grid, smart meter and smart home in Germany. We are using it to enable the development of a digital infrastructure that is capable of connecting more than 1.5 million electricity producers and large-scale consumers. The Act centres on the introduction of smart meters. They will provide a secure communication platform which will make the electricity supply system fit for the energy transition. We are laying a heavy focus on data security - we have introduced the strictest rules in Europe. The decision by the Bundestag with provisos regarding the Act on the Digitisation of the Energy Transition can be found here (in German).

Central aspects of the act:

  • The legislation strikes a sensible balance between costs and benefits:
    The new rules balance the relationship between the costs and benefits of installing and operating smart meters. There is a clear ruling on costs, with maximum ceilings. This ensures that the costs do not exceed the expected benefits. Also, the smart meters will be phased in gradually. Large-scale consumers and generating installations will take on a pioneering role in the use of modern metering and control technology. Smaller users are to follow later. Use can be made of the experience gathered by the high-consumption groups to the benefit of the residential consumers.
  • Minimum technical requirements ensure data protection and security:
    The act establishes new, binding protection profiles and technical guidelines to ensure data protection, data security and interoperability (PDF: 65 KB) (in German). These were drafted on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy by the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) along with industry representatives, and with the close involvement of the Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, the Federal Network Agency and the PTB (National Metrology Institute). The documents can be found on the BSI's website. They contain a technical standard for privacy by design. The act also contains precise rules governing who can access what data and when. This ensures both that the data will be protected and that use can be made of all the data needed for the energy supply by the parties entitled to use that data.

The main questions and answers about smart meters and the Act on the Digitisation of the Energy Transition can be found here, and a fact sheet (in German) (PDF: 563 KB) summarises the key points.