Smart Meters and Smart Energy Technologies, Privacy and Consumer Protection Laws in Australia and Germany
Professor Lee Godden, Director, Centre for Resources, Energy and Environmental Law, Melbourne Law School, Australia.
Lee Godden's research covers environmental law, water law, energy law and climate adaptation and the rights of Australia's indigenous Peoples.
Recent developments in energy law systems and electricity markets include the introduction of information- based energy technologies, such as smart meters- that are designed to promote energy efficiency. Smart meters are the tip of a larger iceberg of information technology that is being progressively integrated into electricity generation, market regulation, and distribution to energy consumers. Initially, this smart infrastructure formed part of the policy and legal response to climate change. The rationale for the technological innovation as it later evolved, has focused on saving money for consumers, as well bringing 'disruptor' technology and business models to the electricity sector, especially in demand- side management.
This presentation examines the legal and regulatory innovations that support the use of information technology in facilitating energy transition while examining some more controversial aspects. The technology raises significant issues, such as the potential for energy utilities and distributors to control appliances remotely, to invade household privacy, as well as questions around the security and use of the data obtained. Law has only begun to address the complexities of regulating these technological Developments.